A Soup You Can Chew

Where did I hear this story?  There were two guys.  One often dined with the king and ate sumptuously on rich food.  The other stayed home and ate humble lentils.  The first guy said to the second, “You should learn to be nice to the king so you don’t have to eat lentils.”  The second guy replied, “You should learn to eat lentils so you don’t have to be nice to the king.”

Lentils are tasty, nutritious, and yes, cheap.  Here’s how I’ve been enjoying them lately.

After we’ve eaten a roasted chicken we* put the carcass and whatever remains on it into a large pot with celery, carrots,onion, and a quantity of water and we simmer it for a few hours.  This makes a stock that is probably not as good as using a whole raw chicken, but still pretty good.  Then we pour the cooled stock into muffin tins and freeze it.  When it has frozen we pop the stock out of the tins and put them into a zipper freezer bag.  Label and use when needed.

My lunch for the past few days has been reheated chicken stock with a handful of barley and lentils.  I should sing the praises of barley too.  So much texture!  Today I added some frozen spinach.  Actually, I added too much spinach and had to skim  some of it out.   We don’t season our stock so I added a little salt.  Be careful about that – it’s easy to add too much.

And TA-DA! a soup you can chew.


By the way, this is my favorite way to cook – winging it without a recipe.

*By “we” I generally mean my husband, but I do it when I have to.


9 thoughts on “A Soup You Can Chew

      • anitvan says:

        Yeah I know! My mom never made them and I never think to try them. Actually I don’t use a lot of legumes/grains in my cooking…just never became a part of my repertoire

      • Sara McDaren says:

        Well, if you’ve never eaten many beans then they would probably take some getting used to, but it might be worth it to you. Using dried beans is so economical, nutritious, and versatile – you can season them any which way you like. Lentils are nice because they don’t have to be soaked or pre-cooked.

      • anitvan says:

        I make rice and peas but I used canned kidney beans. Same thing if I make chili, I use canned 6 bean blend (and then pick out the ones I don’t like…chickpeas…blech). The only time I soak beans is when I have a ham bone and make soup. We had some last week actually. Nom nom nom!

  1. Julie says:

    Yum. I use red lentils in a yam/peanut soup… and if I don’t have lentils, split peas work just fine. (What’s the difference, really, between lentils and peas?) Of course, lentils make me think of Robert McCloskey… ;D

    • Sara McDaren says:

      Literally laughing out loud over McCloskey. I have some red lentils in the pantry that my husband picked up because he remembered that I needed them for a recipe but I have no idea what recipe that might have been. But I’m off to google yam/peanut soup!

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