Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lentil and Pepper Soup

"you know, I was pretty sad during the funeral, but I feel pretty awesome now"
It's soup season.  I'm going to make my version of lentil or fakes (fah-kes) soup today.  Lentil soup is healthy, hearty and even makes you happy!  Just for a little background on these small legumes, you'll be happy to hear they were served up in Bible times and cultivated in Greece as early as 6,000 B.C.  Wealthy Greeks viewed lentils as poor mans food untill Hippocrates, the father of medicine,  recomended lentils for their health benefits.  He prescribed lentils to his patients with liver ailments.  Now we  know that lentils improves liver function beause of the high amounts of choline in them.  Choline rids the liver of fats so toxins can be easily filtered from the blood stream.  As if this isn't reason enough to get cooking this soup, Classical authors write about serving lentils at funerals-  "On eating lentils a man becomes happy and amused."  Now I'm not sure whether this can be scientifically supported, but the great flavor and super nutrional benefits sure puts a smile on our faces!!

Lentil and Pepper Soup
nom nom nom 
3 cups lentils, washed
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2  each- green, yellow and red pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup bulgar or brown rice
2 beef boullion cubes
2 Tables. tomatoe paste
1 grated tomatoe
salt and pepper
5-6 cups water
1 Tables. balsamic vinegar

Soak the lentils in water overnight; drain the lentils very well. In a heavy , large casserole, saute  in the olive oil the onion, peppers, garlic and lentils for 5 minutes;stirring constantly.(The secret to this soups flavor is the sauteeing of the lentils in oil before adding the water.)  Add the water, tomato, tomato paste, bay leaves, bulgar or rice, bouillon cubes, carrot (and celery, if you like), bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.  Add
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar and simmer for 15 more minutes.  Serve with additional vinegar as a condiment, feta, olives and plenty of bread to dip into the soup!

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