lentil soup
chicken skin
sliced into strips
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup celery
4 cloves garlic
smashed and chopped
4 whole mushrooms
diced small, optional
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 qt chicken stock
plus more if needed
2 whole bay leaf
1 lb lentils
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
sour cream
diced small
something crunchy
such as deep fried onions
We had initially planned to make split pea soup with some leftover chicken skin, but instead we chose to use it as an accent to lentil soup. In reading recipes online, we figured out that most lentil soup recipes are made up of a vegetable base, some stock, the lentils, then sometimes vinegar at the end. We came up with our recipe based on what we liked and what we had on hand. We also chose to top it with some accessories. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by excluding the chicken skin (replace with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil), using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and by not using chicharon or bacon bits. It can be made vegan by also keeping out the sour cream.
Preheat the cast iron soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken skin to render the fat and crisp it up, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat down to medium, then add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, mushrooms, and cumin and cook for about 1 minute.
Stir in the tomato paste, then add the chicken stock, bay leaf, and lentils. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes. Add more chicken stock at the end if the soup is too thick. Remove the bay leaves then pulse the immersion blender in the pot a few times.
Stir in red wine vinegar, then serve with tabasco, sour cream, tomato, and chives. Top with something crunchy for texture contrast.
Leftovers keep well, but you might need to add some additional stock if the soup is too thick after reheating.