Monday, February 15, 2016

Lentil soup and financial security

In early 1990 my father decided to open his own business.  It was a small grocery store with a two bedroom apartment on top for us to live in.  I didn't know it back then but our average income was about $400/month.  When I found that out as an adult I was blown away!!  How could a family of 4 survive on so little?!?!  And how did I not know??  Our table was always full of nutritious food.  We always had nice warm clothes and a spotless house.  We didn't want for anything ... it just didn't make sense how we could have so much on so little.

Then I really thought about it.  Mom was a grocery shopping, coupon clipping, bargain finding queen.  Standing at the register with her as a little girl I remember she always paid in cash.  She shopped for fresh seasonal ingredients and supplemented lentils and beans for protein a few times a week.  She bought whole chickens and showed me how to break them down to the more expensively packaged "boneless skinless" pieces, how to use every part of the chicken for stock/broth, and how that can make several meals.  She always cooked and never let a drop go to waste.  She would do leftover upgrades and leftover buffets often.  

Lentil soup was a big staple in my childhood and as an adult it brings back great comfort on cold winter days.  It tastes extra special knowing it was one of the many meals that helped build a strong financial foundation for our family.  The recipe below will yield about 10 servings for less than $0.77/serving!!   

Here is my mamma's yummy Lentil soup recipe... Enjoy :)



Ingredients:
  • 2 & 1/2 cup red lintels 
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots shredded 
  • 3 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 Tsp cumin 
  • 1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 & 1/2 cups of water (or broth ... learn how to make it here)
  • About 1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • Sumac (optional) 
Instructions:
  1. Rinse lintels with water and drain (at least twice). 
  2. Sauté onion and carrots in olive oil on med-low heat until translucent (not caramelized, about 3-5min).
  3. Stir in lintels and cumin and stir around to bring out the flavors for about 3 min.
  4. Add the water, and cayenne pepper then cook over medium heat for 30 min.
  5. Add the salt to taste (and more water if its too thick) then cook for another 5min.  
  6. The soup will be ready to eat at this point.  
  7. To make it creamy, a recommended (but optional) step is to purée with an Hand Blender.
  8. To serve, ladle into bowls (optional - sprinkle a little sumac on top for extra flavor)
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