In the space of a week, two of our close friend couples (completely unrelated) told us that due to extreme financial difficulties, there would be major changes in their lifestyles. Not being able to do much, I still wanted to help, so I offered to share what I learned along the way about cooking on the way low end. This always being a very touchy subject, I just threw it in there and let them choose to do what they wanted. Meanwhile, I made one of the cheapest meals I know to make, and that would be lentil soup. Seriously the entire batch cost about 5-6$. I made two kinds, vegetable and curry.
The basis for any lentil soup, I think, is pretty similar. Celery, carrots, onions, garlic. Which is what I chopped up and divided into two large measuring cups, I didn't really measure each but I think 4 large onions (that, btw, I cheated and threw into the food processor because I hate chopping those), 1 1/2 cups each of carrots and celery (it was a bag each, didn't check the weight), and a head of garlic. I added a red bell pepper and half a jalapeno pepper without seeds to the curry cup, because I had those lying around in my fridge, and I figured it would add a little kick. Oh and a few spring onions into both for the same reason as the peppers.
|Vegetable cup on the left, and curry on the right.|
Got both of those started in different pots to sweat out with olive oil. After about 10 minutes, added 4 tbsp curry to one of the pots, mixed that in. Then I added a can of tomato and let both cook an extra few minutes. I then added to each 12 cups of liquid (water in the vegetable pot, and chicken stock in the curry), and 4 cups of green lentils each (that i had thoroughly rinsed and drained prior). I also added a can of chickpeas that I had rinsed to the curry pot. Simply let that cook down, I think 1 1/2 hours, maybe more, until lentils are cooked through. I then took my hand blender to each for a few whirs to give it a thicker consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
|Veggie on the left, curry on the right.|
It gave me that much. I don't know exactly how many portions, but I gave away to 6 families, plus the two original friends I had mentioned before (with the recipes), and a good lot of leftovers for myself. Fibre and protein and deliciousness and cheap. Doesn't get any better.
PS - 8 cups of lentils is how much 1 pkg of lentils in Super C (cost is 2.50$) is, if you don't eat them enough to buy in bulk.
Ingredients for vegetable lentil soup: 4 cups rinsed/drained green lentils, 12 cups of water (might need more, adjust accordingly), 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups each of carrots and celery, half a head of chopped garlic, s&p.
Ingredients for curry lentil soup: 4 cups rinsed/drained green lentils, 12 cups of chicken stock (might need more, adjust accordingly), 1 can of rinsed chickpeas, 1 1/2 cups each of carrots and celery, half a head of chopped garlic, 1 red bell pepper, 1/2 jalapeno pepper, 4 tbsp yellow curry powder, s&p.