When my daughter was away at college, she soon found the cafeteria fare to be lacking in things like taste, fiber, and nutrition unless all could be found in fries. She started doing more cooking in the dorm kitchen and a favorite that caught on with her friends was Lentil Soup over a bowl of rice. Her friends weren’t sure about it not being familiar with lentils but after a few bites, they said they somehow felt healthier!
Plain Old Lentil Soup
3 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed, and diced
1 ½ cups dried lentils (They should be rinsed under cold water before cooking)
1 cup of diced ham
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
7 cups of chicken broth (canned or homemade)
2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon chili flakes
Enough freshly-grated sharp cheddar to top each bowl of rice and soup
In a soup pot, add a few drops of olive oil and saute the garlic until it softens. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot (EXCEPT for the rice and cheese!), bring to a boil and the cover and simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
To make a thicker version of the soup, put two cups of the soup including some of the solids to a blender and carefully blend until smooth. Stir back into the soup and stir until you bring it back to hot.