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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lentils: Tiny In Size, Big In Nutrition

I have alot of cookbooks as you can imagine.  Most were given to me or they belonged to my parents; a few I bought for fundraisers.  I try to cull through them once in awhile as it seems that recipes get repeated so much.  Really, how many ways can you make spaghetti or bake a chicken?  My advice on cookbooks is that everyone should have one basic cookbook that can serve as a reference book such as Joy of Cooking.  This cookbook has all kinds of cooking and food information such as cuts of beef and a whole section on ingredients.  It is my go-to book when I need to know something.  Then you should be really, really picky about every other cookbook that comes into your home.  They take up so much room after all.  The only other cookbook that I feel is absolutely necessary is Traditions, A Taste of the Good Life, published by the Junior League of Little Rock in 1983.  I have found more great recipes in this cookbook than any other and if you can locate a copy, you will have a treasure.  They were still available a few years back in local cooking stores.

The soup recipe I promised to share comes from this cookbook.  It contains lentils, a member of the legume family that we don't see used very often around these parts.  That's a shame because lentils, like other beans, pack alot of nutrition.  Lentils are high in fiber, contain 2 B vitamins, protein and 6 important minerals.  They have an indefinite shelf life and are quick to cook.  This soup is very comforting on a chilly night.  Just serve with crackers or bread.

Sausage and Lentil Soup
1 lb. lentils
8 cups water
2 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
8 slices bacon, diced
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 large onion, diced
1 cup chopped celery
2 lbs. sausage, browned and drained
Wash lentils and combine with water, tomatoes and seasonings.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Fry bacon until limp, then add carrots, onion and celery.  Saute' over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add bacon mixture and browned sausage to lentils.  Simmer for 1 hour.    

I am having technical difficulties with downloading photos.  I hope to have a picture of the soup posted soon.  Enjoy the soup!

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