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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

BACON AND LENTIL SOUP

Good Morning to you,

Do you remember this song?

Oh listen to the falling rain,
Pitter patter, pitter patter
Oh, oh, oh, listen to the falling rain
Pitter patter, pitter patter


The Rhythm of the Falling Rain
by The Cascades

If you know this song, I feel sure, you are now singing the first verse, 


"Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, 
telling me just what a fool I've been, 
I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain
 and let me be alone again."

The reason this very old song popped into my head, was because all day yesterday, the rain did not stop tumbling down from the sky. It is that time of year, when the rain can fall relentlessly.  So all our lightweight jackets have been packed away, until the warmer weather returns.  It is now time, to get out my mac, brolly, hat and wellies, which will help to keep me dry when I have to go outside to splosh about in the rain.

So, because the weather has been awful, I have a very warming soup to take away that Winter or should I say, Autumnal chill,


a bacon and lentil soup.  Soups are certainly a favourite in this house during the Autumn and Winter and we do tend to eat a lot of different types of home made soups.  I make large batches, so that I can freeze some for the days when I am busy and would rather not cook.

...... but today I am in the mood for cooking, and of course, I could not cook without some music to listen to. The  music I have chosen is  a little different to my normal taste in music,


O Brother, Where Art Thou?  Have you ever seen the film?  George Clooney plays the part of Everett Ulysses McGill..... don't you just love that name.  I won't tell you about the film, as I don't want to spoil it for you, just in case you do decide to watch it, but I have to tell you, it is a fabulous film. 

One of the songs from the Cd is "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and it is one of the many songs which George's granddad (my husband George and not George Clooney, just in case you thought I had inside family knowledge about George Clooney!) used to sing to him, when he was a little boy. The wheel turns and George sang the same song to our girls when they were little and they loved the song. It was Natasha who told us about the film, because she was thrilled when she heard the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain". I love "I'm in the Jailhouse Now" sung by the Soggy Bottom Boys.... what a fabulous name for a group.  

Now, it is the time for me to put on my apron and organise my ingredients.... at the moment I am listening to "You are My Sunshine" whilst I lay out my ingredients...... don't you just love that song.

I have to tell you before I start, that I have used dried pearl barley, split peas, split lentils and marrow fat peas, so I had to soak these overnight.  I thought it useful to tell you now, but of course if you prefer to save time, you can use tinned, but with much less stock and much less cooking time, but I have to be honest, I don't think you will be rewarded with the same flavours. Plus it is much more economical to use dried pulses and peas.

INGREDIENTS

75g (3 oz) pearl barley
75g (3 oz) yellow split peas
75g (3 oz) red split lentils
75g (3 oz) marrow fat peas (optional)
9 salad potatoes
2 onions
5 carrots
150g (6 oz) bacon lardons 
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 litres of chicken or vegetable stock

HOW TO MAKE 
BACON AND LENTIL SOUP

THE EVENING BEFORE


Place the dried pearl barley, split peas, lentils
and marrow fat peas 
(from now on I will call this the broth mix)


into a large bowl and cover
with water.

Allow to soak overnight

THE FOLLOWING DAY

Rinse the soaked broth mix thoroughly with
fresh water.
I tend to do this a couple of times.

Place the broth mix into a saucepan with 3 litres of chicken stock
and bring to the boil,
reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove any froth which appears with a slotted spoon

MEANWHILE


Peel and chop the onions
and set aside.
I used my food processor to chop the onions
as I wanted the onions to be quite finely chopped
for this soup.


Peel and chop the carrots
and set aside


Peel and chop the potatoes
and place in cold water until needed.



 I used  lardons
but if you are using  bacon,  cut into small pieces
and place in a pan and cook until
brown.

Remove and set aside


Place the olive oil into the same  pan
and



Add
the chopped onions and cook until translucent
Add
the tomato paste and cook for a minute
Add
  the chopped carrots and coat
with the olive oil and tomato paste

When the carrots are coated, add the chopped
potatoes and again coat with the 
olive oil and tomato paste

Carefully add the lardons and vegetables to the
pan containing the broth mix.
I tend to add a spoon at a time to prevent any
liquid splashing on me.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes




Add the salt and
freshly ground black pepper



When the soup has cooked
I tend to let the soup stand in the saucepan,
with the saucepan lid in place,
for 45 minutes, to allow the soup to thicken
and to enhance the flavours.


Serve in your favourite soup dish

and

Enjoy


There are just a few thoughts.  I have used marrow fat peas as George loves them, but you can substitute any bean of your choice. 

I did not salt the broth mix as the salt can make the skin of the dried peas hard, so I prefer to season at the end of the cooking time.

I also used a salad potato as they tend to hold their shape when cooked so that you have chunky potatoes in this soup.... which George loves. 

I mentioned that I simmer the broth mix for 45 minutes, now this is an approximate time as I have found that on other occasions, when I have made this soup, I have had to simmer the mix for an hour.  It all depends on the age of the pulses and peas, the older the pulses and peas, the longer it takes for them to  cook.

This is a lovely soup, sometimes we eat it just as it is and on other occasions I will make small dumplings and add them to the soup, but whichever way you decide to enjoy this soup, I feel sure, you will not be disappointed.

So take care of yourself, and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,
















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