Weather complaints aside, soup is a wonderful thing to cook on cold days, it also helps keep kitchen waste down. There does not have to be any hard and fast rules about soup making, what you have available will usually make a nice pot of soup. If is turns out a little bland, add a bit of zip with some extra seasonings or serve with a sprinkling of cheese.
I have learned a thing or two about myself and soup.
I enjoy a brothy soup sipped out of a soup mug and then finished with a spoon at the end. And sometimes I only want the broth, on those days I must be craving the warmth and the liquid.
I love rice with soup, but not in the soup, because it gets mushy. The way to avoid the mushy rice problem is to cook the rice separately and place a scoop of rice in the bottom of the bowl and serve the soup over the rice. This works especially well for soups that you will freeze and serve later.
The same is true with potatoes. I enjoy a robust meaty vegetable soup served over fried potatoes placed in my soup bowl. The flavor of the fried potatoes is far superior to potatoes peeled and added to the soup. The only exception to this stern potato rule of mine, is of course potato soup.....
Lentil and Mushroom Stroup with Kale and Bacon
By the seat of my pants, adapted from what I had on hand and experience from good soups made before!
8 - 10 slices bacon - diced
1 large onion - diced
1 pound mushrooms - sliced
2 carrots - peeled and diced
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 qt chicken or ham broth
1 qt water
1 1/2 c lentils rinsed and drained
2 t thyme leaves, crumbled
1 1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 bunch kale, washed, drained and cut into 1" pieces
Cooked brown rice for serving
Saute the bacon in a large flat bottom pan, remove bacon and set aside. Discard all but 2 T of the rendered fat and the "drippings", add onion turn heat to medium, cover and let braise about 5 minutes to soften the onion.
Makes approximately 1 gallon of soup, like most soups this freezes great. To serve, place a small scoop of cooked rice in the bottom of the bowl, ladle soup over the top.
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