In the words of the Dead Kennedys, Soup is Good Food!

Winter is almost upon us, and I've been reading through Michael Ruhlman's new book Ruhlman's Twenty which is a recipe book that is really more about working from basic techiques.  And so, with thoughts of the benefits of hot water and its extractive powers, AND faced with this sitting in my fridge…

… lentil soup is born!

These are guidelines more than a recipe, and are easily changed (more veg, less meat, different legumes, substitute barley for legumes, lamb legbone instead of the pork hock … the combinations are infinite, and limited only by the flavour combinations that work for you!).  Go forth, and make some soup for dinner.  Its good for the body, good for the soul!

Take 1 smoked pork hock (this one was not too heavily salted) cook in enough waterto cover AND 1 onion, 2 stalks celery, 1 large-ish carrot in a pressure cooker, about 30 mins until the meat comes off the bone.  This made about 8 cups of smoked pork hock stock.  Set the pork hock aside while you get the rest of the soup going. 

In the pressure cooker, sautee 1 large onion, 2-3 cloves garlic, 2-3 stalks celery in some oil (salt as you go) until the onions are translucent, add 1 diced tomato (it was in the fridge, needing to be used up!), 1 cup dried lentils de puy.  Add 6 cups of the smoked pork hock stock, 2 tsp dried herbs de provence, 2 bay leaves, cook at high pressure for 35-45 minutes. 

Shred the meat off the smoked pork hock, add back into the soup.  Adjust salt as needed.  I like to season at the end with 1 T balsamic or sherry vinegar for a hint of acid.

Putting things by ... Pear-cranberry chutney
Gluten-free biscuits
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Janice Mansfield is a personal chef who specializes in creating customized catering and baking for people with food sensitivities. A recipe developer and baker by day, by night, she enjoys delving into the history of classic cocktails and created a line of cocktail bitters for no other reason than she wanted chocolate bitters in her Manhattans! In her spare time, she documents the antics and unbearable cuteness her two Shiba Inus over at Life in the Shiba Shack.

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