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Monday, June 21, 2010

Cream of Lentil Soup

Lentils are a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, and are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up--not out.

2 cups Dried Lentils
1 quart Water
2 quarts Beef Stock or Beef Broth
4 slices Bacon, diced
4 stalks Celery, diced
2 Yellow Onions, peeled and diced
1/2 Green Pepper, diced
Worcestershire Sauce, to taste
Tabasco Sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups Cream OR half-and-half
1 Yellow Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 TB Fresh Rosemary OR 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
Fresh Chives or Green Onions for Garnish
1/4 cup Dry Sherry

Place the lentils, water and beef stock in a large soup pot, cover and bring to a simmer. In a skillet, saute bacon and chopped vegetables until soft, about 6 minutes. Add this mixture to the soup pot. Cover and simmer until the lentils are soft. Working in small batches, puree the soup, and return to the pot.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cream and gently simmer while you prepare the onion and rosemary garnish.

In a skillet, saute the sliced onions, rosemary and chives until the onion is tender. Set aside.

Add the sherry to the soup and stir. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of the onion and rosemary mixture.  Serves 8.

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