Lentils with Ham and Rosemary

(not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook)

2 medium size yellow onions, chopped

2 cups diced cooked ham (i.e. black forest ham)

1 cup diced carrot or parsnip

1 cup chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

3/4 tsp rubbed sage

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 bay leaf

1 pound dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 14.5 oz can beef broth

5 cups water

Chopped flat leaf parsley for serving

Saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil

Combine with all other ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on high until the lentils are tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add boiling water for soupier lentils.

Discard bay leaf, garnish with parsley, if desired, before serving.

 

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Carrot and Red Pepper Soup (Deborah Madison)

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch slices

2 cups diced onion

1 pound carrots, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons white rice

salt and freshly milled pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

3 tablespoons chopped dill

grated zest and juice of 1 orange

6 cups water or vegetable stock

Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the pepper, onion, carrots, rice and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium heat, covered, until the onion has softened completely about 10 minutes, stirring several times. Add a grind of pepper, the parsley, dill, orange zest, juice and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, until the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Cool briefly, then puree all but a cup or two of the soup and return it to the pot. Taste for salt, season with pepper, garnish and serve.


Lentil and Spinach Soup (Jamie Oliver)

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 medium onions

2 cloves of garlic

1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

olive oil

a thumb-sized piece of ginger root

1/2-1 fresh red chili to your taste

10 grape or cherry tomatoes

2 cups red lentils

7 cups spinach

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup natural yogurt

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice and garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid ajar until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden. Meanwhile peel and finely slice the ginger. Seed and slice the chili. Remove the stalks from the grape or cherry tomatoes and slice the tomatoes in half. Add the boiling broth to the pan with the lentils, ginger, chili and tomatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on, or until the lentils are cooked. Add the spinach and continue to cook for 30 seconds.

Season well with salt and pepper. You can serve the soup as is; or, using and immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse until smooth. Divide between your serving bowls. Delicious topped with a dollop of natural yogurt.


Tomato Soup (Jamie Oliver)

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 medium onions

2 cloves garlic

1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

olive oil

2-14 oz cans of plum tomatoes

6 large ripe tomatoes

small bunch of fresh basil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all of your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid ajar, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is slightly golden. Add the boiling broth to the pan with your canned and fresh whole tomatoes, including the green stalks that may still be attached to some of them. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Meanwhile pick your basil leaves.

Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the basil leaves. Using an immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse the soup until smooth. Season again before dividing between your serving bowls.


Pea and Mint Soup (Jamie Oliver)

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 medium onions

2 cloves garlic

1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

olive oil

5 1/2 cups frozen peas

small bunch of fresh mint

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional: 3/4 cooked ham

 

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients to the pan and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid ajar, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape and the onion is slightly golden. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables. Add your peas. Give the soup a quick stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pick your mint leaves.

When the peas have softened, remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the mint leaves. Using an immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse the soup until smooth. If using ham, chop it up and stir in. Heat through before dividing between your serving bowls. Really nice served with a toasted slice of ciabatta, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.


Spinach with Raisins

1/3 cup raisins

2 lbs fresh spinach

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 tablespoons pine nuts

salt and pepper

croutons, to serve

Put the raisins into a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and let soak.

Rinse spinach well, then shake off surplus water but do not dry the leaves. Into a large saucepan, put spinach. Cover and cook until spinach wilts. Uncover and cook until excess moisture has evaporated. Chop coarsely. Drain raisins.

Heat oil in a skillet. Add garlic and pine nuts and fry, stirring occasionally, until it begins to color. Stir in spinach and raisins, season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Serve with croutons sprinkled over the top.


Asparagus with Egg

1- 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus

1 hard cooked egg, finely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove

3/4 cup fresh coarse bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Using a small, sharp kitchen knife, cut off woody part at end of asparagus stems. Working from tip to bottom, scrap off scales from stems. Tie stems into 4 bundles with kitchen string.

In a deep saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add asparagus bundles, tips pointing downward. Cover pan with a lid or dome of oil and simmer 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is just tender. Remove asparagus and untie bundles. Drain asparagus on a thick pad of paper towels. Arrange on a warm serving platter, sprinkle egg over stems, cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and fry until lightly browned. Discard garlic. Stir bread crumbs into pan and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring, until crisp and golden. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, then pour it over asparagus, leaving tips uncovered. Serve immediately.