Lentil Soup

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A healthy, hardy soup from dried beans which cook quickly compared to other dried bean soups.  No soaking beans overnight -- from start to finish just 40 minutes.

Like other legumes, lentils provide protein and are a good source of iron which make them popular in vegetarian dishes.

I don't recall eating lentil soup growing up, but remember first tasting it in a German restaurant in the 70s, then looking in cookbooks for a recipe.

Now it's one of my favorite "soups of the week."  
If adding meat, I use bacon as it's usually on hand, but leftover ham or beef can be used.

Soup, salad, and some crusty bread make for a tasty, healthy lunch or dinner.

Lentil Soup

2 cups dry lentils, rinsed and drained
2 quarts of water, or broth, chicken or beef
1 pound can of chopped tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. oregano or an Italian spice blend
1/2 pound chopped bacon (optional)
1 cup finely chopped celery
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tabs. of butter
2 Tabs. lemon juice

In a large soup pot, add water or broth, rinsed lentils, and remaining ingredients, except butter and lemon juice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 40 minutes to an hour.

Remove bay leaf. Can thicken with mixture of flour and water, or lightly puree with a stick blender. Add butter and lemon juice, stir to blend. Serve immediately. Makes slightly over a half gallon. Freezes well. Serves 8-10.
Estimated cost: $4.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.

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