Brown lentils have gotten a bum rap, at least in my mind. I think I always associated them with boring, muddy, vegetarian fare. As it turns out, brown lentils go great with hot dogs and really any smoked meat product you can find. Here's a cheap and hearty soup that makes good use of this humble legume. At some point I should post my all-veggie lentil burgers that are so good even an Iowa farm boy would love 'em (I have proof!).
This recipe makes a lot, so feel free to halve it (or just plan on soup for lunch all week).
1 lb. brown lentils, rinsed
7-8 c. chicken broth
1 onion, minced
2 ribs celery, minced
2 medium carrots, minced
2 whole chipotle chiles, canned or dried
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. thyme
3 c. hearty greens (such as leafy endive or escarole), chopped
1 lb. hot dogs sliced into rounds
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
2-3 tsp. Tobasco sauce
Heat some oil or lard in your soup pot or pressure cooker. Saute the onion, celery and carrots. Add the lentils, herbs, and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30-40 min. until lentils are tender or follow your PC instructions. Add the greens and hot dogs and simmer for 5 more min. Season with parsley, butter, Tobasco, S&P. Remove the hot peppers entirely or chop and return them to the pot.
Feel free to get creative with the seasonings. I think this might be good with a curry flavor instead of the herb theme. If it's lacking, add more salt!