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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Repurposing Leftovers

Even though spring has fully sprung now, I haven't fully satisfied my craving for hearty soups. The leftover meaty lamb bones from Sunday provided a perfect opportunity to try something new. Instead of looking through my collection for a suitable recipe, I just punted, and it turned out great.

I started with a thinly sliced onion, two peeled and sliced carrots, and one rib of diced celery. I sauteed them in a little olive oil (with a little salt and pepper) until the onion had softened and started to brown, and fond was accumulating at the bottom of the pan. Then I deglazed with some homemade chicken stock (a little less than a cup), added the meaty bones and water to just cover (3-4 quarts, I'd guess), a bit more salt and pepper, and a pound of French green lentils.

I simmered for about two hours, then pulled out the meat and bones and picked through it to remove the bones, gristle, and random oogy parts I didn't think the kids would like if they happened upon them in their bowls. Then I adjusted the saltiness, tossed in two russet potatoes (peeled and cut into one-inch pieces), and simmered until the potatoes were tender. At this point the lentils were fully cooked and lending some of their thickening power, augmented by the starch leaching out of the potatoes. A final check of seasonings, the addition of two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and the last quarter-cup or so of the wine-onion reduction from Sunday, and voilà! I heated the last few leftover rolls in the oven in foil packets at 300 and served them alongside. Number Two ate two whole bowls full of soup!

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