Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Menu Planning & Cooking, Traveling Tips
Another Delicious Camping Meal–Lentil Soup!
In a previous post, I wrote about using Bear Creek or some other commercially prepared soup mixes to create some hot and filling camping meals. Today, I want to tell you about another great soup, but one that’s made from scratch: Lentil Soup. I am a great fan of the Bear Creek soups; but still feel the need to make a good pot of lentil soup several times a year. It is every bit as tasty as the commercial soups and takes only a bit longer to prepare as the lentils cook up pretty quickly.
Ingredients are as follows:
- 1 lb. bag of lentils
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 5-10 small carrots, chopped
- dried mushrooms, if desired
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- 6 cups water (to start, I always add a cup or two more)
- 3-6 tsps chicken soup base (1 use 3-4 to maximize
taste and minimize sodium)
- ham bone
- 1 ham slice, cubed
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp basil
- salt and pepper to taste
My original recipe began with adding water, lentils and soup base to a Dutch oven and adding remaining ingredients from there. However, over the years, I have realized you can enhance taste and shorten cooking time by sautéing the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms in 1-2 tbsps of olive oil before adding the water and lentils.
Once veggies are prepared, add water and lentils, plus soup base to taste, tomatoes, ham bone and spices. Whenever I bake a ham, I save the bone and freeze it for my next pot of soup. When I make soup and find no ham bone in the freezer, we simply buy a ham slice with the bone in. Also, one benefit of making this soup from scratch over the commercial varieties is that you can control the sodium content. If sodium is a concern, either purchase a low sodium chicken soup base, reduce the quantity used, or both.
Bring all ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until veggies are tender. Sautéing the vegetables first reduces the original cooking time by about an hour, so you can quickly throw this soup together after a busy day filled with camping activities, and it will be ready for your hungry crew in less than an hour! A few minutes before serving, add the cubed ham to warm it through. Serve with crusty bread. Bon appétit!
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