Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grandma's Lentils and Rice Soup with Video

Lentils and Rice Soup of course it's Grandma's best recipe and my favorite~
Of course grandma never used a crockpot, everything went into the pot, dried lentils, rice, all cooked at once. I adapted it a little, I love to sort the lentils, cook them in the crockpot first. The freshness with the tomatoes and fresh herbs make this broth the best tasting soup ever!

1/4 cup olive oil
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 fresh basil leaf or dried
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley or dried
1 pound of  fresh plum tomatoes put through food processor or 1 can whole tomatoes
4 cups cooked lentils see video for cooking method 1 cup cooked rice set aside
6 cups to 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock or use half water,  half broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups very well cleaned and rinsed chopped escarole, kale, swiss chard or spinach or more if you like
pinch of red pepper or cayenne
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
Optional for meat lovers: If meats are preferred try some sauteed Italian sausage chunks, ham, bacon or other smoked pork.
Serving suggestions: Garlic bread, Italian hot crusty bread and grating cheese for garnishing.
Although you do not have to soak or cook lentils ahead of time when they are dry, I like to know they are completely cooked and clean before I use mine not just washed. This recipe can be made however without cooking the lentils first by using the crock pot as I do in the video.  I make a whole bag of dried and use them in various recipes throughout my week. Lentils will keep in the refrigerator for around a week. and still taste fresh. Dried around a year on the shelf.
Lentils and Rice soup recipe note:
 If using a crockpot for the whole recipe that's not problem, however, you will have to brown the garlic and vegetables in a separate pan first, proceed the same way cooking on high for 2 to 3 hours.

For Stovetop:
In a large soup pot on low heat add oil the minced garlic,  finely minced carrots, celery, chopped greens  and cook till tender around 2 minutes or so making sure garlic isn't brown and just until the greens are wilted. Add  all the spices, tomatoes and simmer for 1/2 hour ( then add the cooked lentils and rice simmer for around another 1/2 hour. Stir in the balsamic vinegar at the end seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded grating cheese, Italian bread or garlic bread.

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