I was just going thru the pictures on my phone, trying to tidy, and came across the pictures I took of the lentil soup I made last month. I was going to write a post on it but got busy/lazy and didn’t. It’s the colors of the ingredients I love, and how satisfying it is to put something together that feed the eye and the tummy. Lentils are soo good for you. My mom always used the green lentils. I can remember her sitting at the kitchen table picking thru them for stones and other debris. As I got older, this became my job. Lentils come in so many different varieties, I mix several together. The red ones break down easily and add body to the soup (without waiting the several days it took for the green lentils to dissolve) and the yellow ones have a creamy texture. My mother made the best lentil soup. I thought everyone did the same and I can remember with stinging clarity a bowl of lentil soup my American cousin made when we went to visit in Lincoln Nebraska. It looked the same and I greedily took a large helping. The first mouthful told me all lentil soups are not the same–no doubt this was a vegetarian soup, totally lacking the depth of flavour provided by a heavily smoked pork hock (or two), no meaty bone broth, and precious little flavoring. Blah!!! What a disappointment!!! But a good lesson as I learned to view as suspect anything that did not come from my mothers’ kitchen. She was truly an excellent cook. I start with a good meaty smoked pork hock, adding smoked sausage or smoky bacon if there is not enough meat on the hock. Then flavorful gelatinous homemade bone broth (in this case, rabbit broth), and the triumvirate of flavorful colorful veggies, carrots, celery and onion. Then a couple or three bay leaves which add a certain je ne sais quoi, and a healthy grinding of black pepper. I don’t add any salt till after the flavor has been pulled from the pork hock–there is lots of salt there already. Let it simmer all afternoon. Then if you can exercise enough self control to wait and reheat it the next day, it’s even better. My mother always made a huge pot full and we ate it for several days, often fighting over the last bowl full. We always added a spoonful of white vinegar at the table, a Viennese custom, but something that increases the digestibility of the lentils, and aides in pulling out all the vitamins and minerals contained in them. Everytime I make this soup I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. And it was delicious with the potato bread I made that day.
Last week, during the Easter break a friend and I made rabbit sausage. I didn’t take enough pictures during the process–I don’t know what I was thinking (the pictures here are from the first batch of sausage I made last year). But I had lots of meat, probably 25 pounds or so. I couldn’t find my last recipes so I pulled a few new ones off the interweb (hehe). I made a maple/sage sausage with maple sugar I bought from the Ontario Amish harness makers (who have a side sugar bush business). This one was very very good. Then I made a sweet Spanish sausage with ground raisins and smoked Spanish paprika that I brought back from my Camino. I’m not sure about this one. We left the seasoned sausage in the fridge for a few hours for the flavors to marry, but our test patty may not have sat long enough. It was good, but not great, though this may change with more seasoning time. The third batch was a hunter sausage that I found too salty. My friend says the salty flavor dissipates with age so this one could become much better. With the leftover ground pork, I made a peppery honey garlic sausage. Again, not enough seasoning time, but lots of potential. Then I had five or six pounds of just plain ground rabbit. Perhaps rabbit burgers this summer? A very productive day and many thanks to my friend for his help.