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Still stewing

The weather has been crazy lately. One day it’s kissing 80*. The next, we’re hiding from storms. Then the cold comes in. Normally during the winter, 50* is perfectly comfortable. But 50* after a few days of unseasonably warm days feels like icicles.

I really don’t care what the weather feels like. I love soups and stews all year round. It’s the easiest and most economical way to get as many vegetables in a pot as I can. Most weekends, I’m using any leftover vegetables from the week. I make a big pot of soup or stew and freeze into portable meals for work. Fresh produce cannot be wasted!

This week’s pot was a Chicken Lentil  soup with beans. I didn’t have many vegetables left over because I roasted a big pan earlier. I used a new-to-me Herbs de Provence. Where have I been that I’ve missed this?? The standard mixture typically contains savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender flowers and other herbs. I have heard of this and even watched Ina make stuff with it, but I really thought it was a glorified “Italian seasoning”. It certainly could be called that, but there is something else in it that I LOVE. It doesn’t scream Hamburger Helper Lasagna flavor that I was worried about.  It’s my new favorite all purpose veggie season.

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Chicken Lentil soup with Beans

What you need to have ready first: 1 large (5 qt or higher) stock pot.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive or canola oil + 1 Tablespoon of real butter. If you do not have butter, just skip it and use a little more oil.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 chicken breasts, COOKED  and shredded or cubed
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of dried lentils. I used French green because they are a firmer lentil and hold up well in this soup.
  • 2 Tablespoons Herbs de Provence.
  • 2 cans of white beans (Navy, cannellini, great northern)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  1. In a large stockpot, Heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and CHICKEN. Sauté for 8-9 minutes until carrots are almost done.
  2. Add dry lentils. Stir and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  3. Add  stock, herbs and salt/pepper. Bring back to a simmer. Cover and vent lid.
  4. Let simmer 20 minutes minimum until lentils are done. They will not be mushy, but easy to bite.
  5. Add cans of beans. Cook another 5 minutes and check for more salt. Beans soak up salt.
  6. Serve immediately. Freezes well.

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