Sunday, November 6, 2011

On My Hearth: Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

Autumn has finally arrived here in the Sunshine State, it's been grey, dreary and blustery.  Perfect weather for movie-watching, crocheting, reading, and of course, cooking! To quote my new cooking buddy Myron,

"Soups and crockpots go together like....

                    ...a horse and buggy! and marriage? and tea?"

Of course he's right, there's no better way to cook soups & stews than in my beloved crockpot. I found this healthy lentil soup recipe from Weight Watchers, will definitely be making the vegetarian version.  I love mushrooms so foregoing the bacon will not be a hardship for me.


                         Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

  "So comforting on cold winter days. Lean Canadian bacon adds a hint of smokiness but we give vegetarian tips below, too."

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2             medium  carrot(s) -- peeled, cut into large chunks
  2              stalk  celery -- (s) ribs, cut into large chunks (medium)
  1             medium  onion -- cut into large chunks
  2             cloves  garlic -- minced (medium)
  2               cups  lentils -- picked over
  3                     bay leaves
     1/2           tsp  dried thyme -- crushed
     1/2           tsp  table salt -- or to taste
     1/4           tsp  black pepper -- or to taste
  8               cups  chicken broth
  4                 oz  Canadian-style bacon -- diced (4 or 5 slices)

Place ingredients in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker in the following order: carrots, celery, onion, garlic, lentils, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper and broth. Cover slow cooker; cook on low setting for 6 hours. Uncover, stir in bacon and heat for 30 minutes more; remove bay leaves. 

Serves 8, about 1 1/2 cups per serving.

  "© 2011 Weight Watchers International, Inc."
Start to Finish Time:
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NOTES : PointsPlus® Value: 5

To thicken soup, remove 1 cup of cooked lentils and puree in food processor; stir back into soup.

For a lighter flavor, replace 4 cups of chicken broth with 4 cups of water.

To make this vegetarian, substitute a cup of sliced shiitake mushroom caps for the Canadian bacon and use vegetable broth (could affect PointsPlus values).

For additional flavor, top each serving with a splash of white wine vinegar


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