A blustery rain filled weekend ushered in soup season here in the Midwest. It finally feels like October out there!
I spent Sunday morning in the kitchen: simmering stock and stew, packing the freezer and our lunch containers, baking up some pumpkin spice. My very favorite time of year.
My standard beef stew filled the big blue pot. Two small 2lb chuck roasts cooked overnight in the crockpot Saturday night and were falling off the bone by dawn on Sunday. Nothing more than a few cloves of garden garlic, a glug of red wine, and a little water - set on 10 hours for perfect stew beef. A 2lb bag of baby carrots - the one prepackaged veggie I feel absolutely no guilt about - and 2lbs of red potatoes, scrubbed and diced. Some onion, garden thyme, more red wine, a quart of beef stock and 2 pint jars of this summer's fire roasted tomatoes simmered for a few hours. Stew!
I improvised the madre's new favorite soup, which was so simple to assemble that it will surely become a staple this winter. Chicken stock simmered on the back burner all morning, yielding 6 pints + a quart of stock for the freezer. I freeze my onion skins & scraps, carrot peels, cheese rinds, and scrap herbs in large gallon bags as I cook each week. Then, after I make our monthly roast chicken I just dump the bag of frozen scraps into the stockpot with the chicken carcass to make stock (or I use the crockpot. 10 hours/overnight makes perfect stock). I also added 7.5 pints of corn stock to the freezer for future soup.
Smoky ham and lentil soup
1lb of smoked ham, diced (I used an end cut on sale at Royer Farms)
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme, pull off the leaves
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup dry french green lentils
1 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or you can add another 14 oz can of diced fire roasted)
1 pint chicken stock
4 cups water
*2 cups chopped cabbage - the madre suggested this amendment, but I ran out of room in the pot.
In a large pot warm the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and thyme and cover. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the diced ham and cover, cook 5 minutes. Add the carrots, lentils, tomatoes, chicken stock, and water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer until lentils and carrots are cooked through, at least 30 minutes. If you prefer a thicker soup, continue to simmer to desired consistency.
Side note: Namaste Foods spice cake mix made excellent pumpkin spice muffins. I followed the directions on the bag for the applesauce cake, but subbed in 1 cup pumpkin puree for the applesauce. So good!