Spiced Lentil Soup

This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to blog for almost a year… I guess time flies when you’re … doing other things. A friend sent me this recipe, though, after it had been given to her as “good for moms right after having a baby” (I’m sure she said it more eloquently than that). I guess it has all sorts of vitamins and minerals and great protein and veggies to replenish what your body’s lacking after just creating and birthing a new human being. It’s also great for new moms because it makes a huge batch that will feed a too-tired-to-cook family for a few days.

Since I’m going to be in that category soon (we’re still in the building process but we could be in the birthing process any minute now), I thought I’d make up a batch of this soup to freeze; it seemed even more appealing after I bought a Costco rotisserie chicken for salad and had some leftover meat, plus the bones for making stock.

Here’s the recipe, plus notes from Andrea (thanks, Andrea!).

Spiced Lentil Soup
Serves 10 (I think it serves WAY more than 10, personally)
1/2 lb italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup barley
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 quarts chicken stock (I thought this was a ridiculous amount, so reduced this by a few cups)
1 cup lentils
1 whole chicken breast, uncooked
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, undrained
1/2 lb fresh or frozen spinach (or kale)
12 oz mild or medium salsa
Brown sausage, onion, barley, and garlic in a skillet. Transfer to a slow cooker or a large stock pot. Add the chicken stock, lentils, chicken breast and parsley
Simmer for as long as you desire or until lentils are tender.
Remove chicken breast, discarding bone and cartilage. Shred meat and return to soup. Add beans, spinach and salsa. Heat through.
Additional notes: For a gluten-free option, I replace the barley with rice and also added about a half a cup of quinoa at the end. I’m also too lazy to used chicken with the bone and skin, so I just usually use shredded chicken I have in the freezer, or boneless, skinless breasts.
The other day I made a similar soup, but used smoked turkey instead of sausage and chicken and added some white beans instead of garbanzo beans (also just threw in whatever veggies were getting old in the fridge). I also now think quinoa is a staple in this soup because it adds a cool crunchy texture. This soup has been an awesome way to get my daughter to eat her veggies.