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winners and winners

Recipe: lentil chicken soup

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the previous post and took a guess at Yuki’s breeds! We had 177 comments which I’m rounding up to $200 that I will donate to Rezdawg Rescue.

Now for Yuki’s Wisdom Panel results:

25% American Staffordshire Terrier
12.5% Australian Cattle Dog
12.5% Chow Chow
12.5% Rottweiler
37.5% Mixed Breeds in the following groups: Herding, Guard, Companion

Are you surprised? We were totally surprised! Of course, the naming and classification of breeds can be utterly confounding and inconsistent between official organizations in different countries. We accepted Pit bull for American Staffordshire Terrier, but not Staffordshire Bull Terrier as that is listed as a separate breed in the Wisdom Panel listing of tested breeds. Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), Heeler, or Blue Heeler were all considered the ACD.

Only one person named three of the four breeds (American Pit Bull, Chow, and Heeler) and that was Linda, Yuki’s foster mom. It made complete sense because she knows dogs (she fosters SO many pups) and aside from us, Linda has spent the most time with Yuki.

[Another commenter named three of the four breeds, but listed five breeds which gained a statistical advantage over everyone else. I contacted all individuals who guessed more than four breeds to please revise their guess and when this commenter revised theirs, they removed one of the three correct breeds.]

I am absolutely going to give Linda a prize of her choosing, but I am also going to give a SECOND person a prize of their choosing.

Fifteen people correctly guessed two of the four breeds. We numbered them 1-15 according to the order in which they commented on the blog post. I set up a cheeseboard with 15 treats associated with 1 through 15 and let Yuki pick the winner by selecting the corresponding treat (basically the one she went to first).

the set up

the winner

Yuki picked #15 and that is Sona who listed American Staffordshire Terrier and Australian Cattle Dog.

Congratulations to Sona and Linda! I will contact you both shortly. Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and love for this special little pup. It was thoroughly entertaining reading through all of the entries!

Those of you who follow my Instagram know that Yuki gave us a scare Friday morning when she began vomiting and crying out in terrible pain several times within a few hours. A trip to the vet, some meds, rest, and eventually passing a two-foot long piece of rope toy (whaaaaat?!?!) summed up our weekend. I’m relieved to report that Yuki is back to her happy puppy self and the rope toys have been banished.

It’s hard to believe that I was wearing shorts while walking the dogs this past Sunday evening when a week earlier Jeremy and I were skiing a lovely blanket of fresh snow in our local backcountry. Colorado weather keeps you on your toes.

almost a foot on our grill

i love the early season storms

storm clouds gave way to a colorful close to the day

I try to plan my cooking with the weather. If it’s hot, there are lots of fresh salads, sushi, grilling, sandwiches, and things that don’t produce a good deal of heat. When it’s cold, I happily crank up the oven for roasting, baking, braising, or dedicate hours to simmering soups and stews on the stove. Not only does the heat from the kitchen keep our living space comfortably toasty, but it fills the house with heady aromas that are the equivalent of wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket. Right now, we are bouncing between Indian Summer and early winter. So here is a hearty soup-as-meal for the next (hopefully snowy) cold spell: lentil chicken soup.

chicken, lentils, onion, salt, garlic, tomato paste, celery, carrots, pepper, olive oil

Homemade chicken broth is superior to store-bought chicken broth in flavor, quality, and the fact that you control the sodium. My preference is to make my own if I have the time. If you are short on time, then you can easily use store-bought chicken broth and chicken meat and essentially reduce the time investment by half or more.

If you do make your own broth, you can simmer it for 3-4 hours or use a pressure cooker for an hour plus change. Either way, start that process first. Once the broth is done, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove random particles (there are always random particles). I like to de-fat my chicken broth one of two ways. The first, refrigeration, requires time. Lots of time. Chill the broth until the fat solidifies or at least clumps together on the surface to be scooped or skimmed off. The second method is in the immediate gratification camp and involves pouring the hot or warm broth into a gallon-size ziploc bag, sealing the bag and holding it over a large bowl or stock pot, cutting a slit in the bottom corner and letting the broth drain out as the fat rises to the top. The trick is pinching the outlet corner off right as the fat layer is about to drain, and discarding the bag and fat.

chicken and water in the pressure cooker

homemade de-fatted chicken broth

When you have your chicken broth and meat sorted out, begin prep on the other ingredients. There is chopping and shredding and soaking, but nothing crazy. Like I said, the bulk of the time and work is in making the broth and picking off the chicken meat.

dicing the vegetables and aromatics

diced, shredded, minced, and soaked (lentils)

Your active cooking time is relatively short for sautéing the vegetables, and stirring in the tomato paste, lentils, and broth. Let the soup simmer for an hour. If you prefer thicker soups to soupy soups, use a blender (immersion or standard) or a food processor to purée some of the soup and mix it back in. At this point, add your chicken meat and you’re done!

stir tomato paste into sautéed vegetables

mix in the lentils

pour the broth into the pot

chicken goes in last

Hearty soups are always welcome in our house because they are the perfect way to warm up and fill up after coming in from the cold. I especially like the tasty combination of dark chicken meat (dark meat all the way!) with lentils and vegetables that leave me feeling satisfied without being overly indulgent. Soup is most certainly good food.

top with a bright sprinkle of chopped parsley

one bowl goes a long way

Lentil Chicken Soup
[print recipe]
from The Kitchn

2 lbs. chicken drumsticks or bone-in chicken thighs*
12 cups water*
1 medium yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
3 large carrots, 1/2-inch dice
3 ribs celery, 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps tomato paste
3 tbsps olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups French green lentils, picked over for rocks, and rinsed

*If you don’t want to bother with making your own chicken broth you can substitute a pound of cooked, shredded chicken meat and 12 cups of chicken broth for the the 2 pounds of raw chicken and the 12 cups of water. This will save the bulk of the time in making this recipe.

If making your own chicken broth – conventional method: Place the chicken and the water in a large stock pot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and partially cover. Cook for 3-4 hours.

If making your own chicken broth – pressure cooker method: Place the chicken and the cold water in the pressure cooker. Seal and set pressure cooker to high (on my Fagor Duo 8 quart, this is setting 2). Set over high heat. When the pressure cooker achieves pressure (the button goes up on the Fagor Duo), let cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow natural decompression (can take as long as an hour).

For both methods of chicken broth: Strain the broth of the solids. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat. To de-fat the broth, you can chill it completely and scrape any solid fat from the top. For a faster method, fill a gallon ziploc bag 3/4 full of warm (or hot – but not too hot) broth and seal. Point one of the bottom corners down into a clean vessel (like a stock pot – something big). Use a sharp knife and cut a slit in the bottom corner of the ziploc and let the broth drain into the vessel. As the fat layer approaches the corner, pinch off the corner before the fat can empty into the vessel. Discard the bag and the fat.

Make the soup: Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until soft (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste until all of the vegetables are coated. Cook until the paste begins to stick to the bottom of the pot (a couple of minutes). Add the lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the broth to a simmer and cook covered for an hour. If you want a thicker soup, you can purée half of the soup with an immersion blender or by scooping it into a blender or food processor to purée and returning it to the soup. Stir the chicken meat into the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8-10.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

lentil soup braised beluga lentils braised lamb shanks with lentils warm lentil salad with sausage

11 nibbles at “winners and winners”

  1. Kristin says:

    I was right…that I had no clue!! This was fun, and I’m glad so many people participated. Thanks for a new soup to try. I am a big soup and lentil fan. I made the brussels sprouts with fish sauce this weekend, and they were delicious. Unfortunately my daughter still couldn’t get over the cabbage smell, even though they were doused with her beloved fish sauce, but that just left more for me to enjoy.

  2. Teresa J says:

    Wow! Yuki really is a surprising potpourri of breeds! Congratulations to the winners!!

  3. Dana Talusani says:

    Jen! I am so sorry Yuki gave you such a scare this weekend–holy cow! Two feet of rope?! That’s crazy…are you sure she isn’t part goat? Did the DNA folks get that part wrong? Anyways, glad it all turned out okay in the end. I loved reading her results–I never would have guessed chow, but then again, I am terrible at guessing dog breeds. Sending love.

  4. Judy says:

    Fun to see Yuki’s genealogy. Glad she’s feeling better. I had a Husky once who had a taste for Ivory Soap and footlets. Needless to say, both were removed from his reach.

  5. farmerpam says:

    I was too overwhelmed with choices, who knew? Glad Yuki is feeling better, my friend’s pup just did something similar, silly dogs.

  6. Sherry Englehart says:

    I think I’ll test my puppy she looks a lot like Yuki and I love her no matter what she is but sometimes if you know what breeds they are its easier to train them them, she is always one step ahead of me. The SPCA said she was shepherd mixed with ST Bernard, but a breeder said no she is a Anatolian shepherd mix? Thanks for the heads up. Sherry

  7. Sherry says:

    I don’t know dogs very well so I didn’t guess but still, I was eager to find out what Yuki was and what gave her that curly tail. I thought it might be some sort of spitz, so I’m glad to see my limited knowledge leading to some sort of fruition.

  8. Heather R says:

    How long do you soak the lentils for?

    I never would have guessed Rotweiler! (maybe the ears?)

  9. Heather R says:

    Just made w/out soaking. SO delicious and easy! thanks for recipe!

  10. DeeDee says:

    Hope you are all well. It’s been a spell since we’ve heard from you!

  11. jenyu says:

    Kristin – I love “soup as meal” soups, especially with something so healthy and satisfying as lentils. Bummer that your daughter didn’t love the Brussels Sprouts :( But I’m glad that you got to have some!

    Teresa J – Isn’t she? We were both surprised and delighted. She’s such a love.

    Dana – Ha ha, Ellen would agree with the goat part. I am also terrible at guessing breeds, but I love that so many people were so close! Love you right back xo

    Judy – Ha! But aren’t dogs simply the best? :)

    farmerpam – VERY silly dogs <3

    Sherry Englehart - Oh fun! I think it's fascinating to find out what the mutts have in them and how the different characteristics are expressed - especially among siblings! They can look SO different from one another :)

    Sherry - xo

    Heather R - I'm so sorry! I have been slammed and then my ISP migrated my server and we had some issues. Yes, no soaking required for these lentils. One of the reasons I love cooking with them :) So glad you enjoyed the soup. xoxo

    DeeDee - I'm here! Just got bogged down with life and work and the blog took a backseat (albeit longer than I had anticipated). Thanks for checking in!! xoxo <3

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