Last night's choice was Egyptian Lentil Soup, which can be made either as a vegetarian soup or not. It's also all made in the same pot, which I love.
In your stock or soup pot, sauté onion and ground lamb (though just a small amount) until the onion is softened and the meat is very brown.
Stir in cumin and fennel and a dried red chili to add a little spice, and then mix in brown lentils, which make up the bulk of the soup.
Let the soup cook for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper and serve.
Um, so, this broth is basically just water, and not interesting at all. The actual content of the soup, however, is really good. When we packed up the leftovers, I strained the water out and just packed the lentil/meat combination for lunches, which I think will be lovely. Still, I wouldn't make this soup again.
Luckily, I made a slightly more substantial dish to go with this -- a mixture of sweet red peppers, garlic, olives, and spicy Italian sausage.
This was my first time opening sausage skins and removing the meat, which is a kind of gross process. Once the sausage is removed, the recipe calls for it to be crumbled and combined with olive oil to be sauteed. Have you ever crumbled a wet meat? It's not really possible. I smooshed it up as best I could, but really I just continued to break it up as it heated.
Once the sausage was thoroughly browned, I set the meat aside and discarded the fat.
Meanwhile, roast red peppers over the stove. Between the sausage, the soup, and the red peppers, I had a very full stove top!
When the peppers are thoroughly roasted, let them cool for a few minutes and then peel the peppers and slice them into thick strips.
Using the same skillet the meat was cooked in, add more olive oil and stir in thin onion slices and garlic. Once the onion is throughly cooked, stir in dry sherry and let it cook for a few minutes until it begins to bubble. Then add the pepper strips, black olives, and slivered orange zest.
Cook briefly and stir in the sausage meat.
Serve and eat! This was lovely, and we both really enjoyed it.
The sweet red peppers with the spicy sausage were a great blend, and the olives added a salty punch. This will also be great cold for leftovers.
onion -- $.98 (half is left)
lemon -- $.79 (half is left)
lamb -- $1.96
lentils -- $1.79 (tons left)
Total Cost of Egyptian Lentil Soup : $5.52 (with leftovers for several days)
orange -- $1.58 (only the zest was used)
red peppers -- $6.09
sausage -- $2.79
olives -- $4.10 (plenty left for eating)
onion -- $.97 (half is left)
Total Cost of Red Peppers with Garlic, Sausage, and Olives : $15.53 (with leftovers for several days)