The week of Thanksgiving, we roasted a whole chicken at home so we could do our own mini-holiday, just the 3 of us. We had mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, it was delicious. I also had a whole chicken carcass that I used to make stock. Usually, we buy the bird, break it down while it's still raw (sorry vegetarians, are you still reading or are you totally grossed out?) and portion it out for use during the week, and make a 'white' stock from the raw carcass. This was the first time I used a roasted carcass and the difference was certainly noticeable. The broth was rich and the smell was intoxicating- perfect for a thick bowl of lentil soup.
This was my first lentil soup, but since we've been making more of our own soups this year, I felt pretty prepared. The morning I made it, I grabbed a jar of lentils that have been banging around my cupboard for months now, and soaked them in a large pot of cold water all day.
Here's what I did for the soup:
1 large carrot, diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
a handful of chopped garlic
about 2 cups of lentils, soaked for 8-12 hours
2 potatoes, cut into small cubes
a little over 2 cups of broth (chicken or veggie)
1 heaping teaspoon of ground cumin, and another of ground coriander.
1 bay leaf
A small hunk (about an inch and a half square?) of fresh ginger root
In a large pot, saute the onions and garlic for a moment, then add the celery and carrots. Cook until they begin to soften, then add broth. Dump in the potatoes & lentils and bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat and simmer, adding spices and finely chopped (or smashed through a garlic press, which is what I did, because I'm lazy) ginger. Serve when lentils and potatoes are all nice and soft. Salt & pepper to taste, of course.
The night I made it, the soup was thick and rich but still slightly brothy, with a really pleasant brightness from the fresh ginger. By the next day, all the flavors had melded together and the soup was more like the thick, chunky lentil soup I'm accustomed to and it was a perfect lunch for a brisk, late fall afternoon.