Smokey Lentil Soup

What to do with the bones of a smoked chicken?  Or turkey, for that matter.

Make a smoked stock.

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Using just the bones, a carrot, a celery, a bay leaf, some parsley, and an onion…you will have a great tasting smokey stock.  A perfect base to make a warming pot of lentil soup – no meat required.  A word of caution: smoked stock can be very, very strong-sort of like using Liquid Smoke.  It can be very overpowering, and a little goes a long way.  I tend to use a small fraction of the total stock/water from the smoked stock (like 1:8).

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 1 stalk celery, diced
    • 2 cups lentils
    • 1/4 cup barley
    • 2 to 3 cups stock
    • 4 cups water
    • 1  14.5 ounce can tomato sauce, or 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
    • 1 large  bay leaf
    • 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillion beef stock paste, optional

Saute the onions till translucent.  Add the diced veggies and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.  Add extra water if needed during the cooking process, especially if you use barley.

Season for salt and pepper and adjust.  Our smoked chicken was pretty well seasoned, so only a little red pepper flakes were needed.

Buen provecho!

Honestly, this ended up tasting like a good beef and barley stew.  For some reason, anything barley is always better the next day.  Great for winter, and of course, it freezes well.

Note: If you want to freeze the soup, arborio rice or barley is a better option over potatoes.  The potatoes tend to change texture upon thawing.  Also, I really like the way that the arborio rice and the barley thicken the soup.  If you use barley (which I did here), I usually cook it for an extra hour.  You will also need an extra 2 to 4 cups water and probably a bigger pot.

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