Baby, holidays, work…it’s been awhile since I’ve done a blog post. Fortunately, we’ve still been cooking (and taking pictures). So for my first post in the new year I’d like to share a recipe that utilizes my favorite spice of the moment–fennel seed. I used turkey drumsticks but, as my husband pointed out, this is one of those recipes that would go well with many different meats, including white meat or pork. Anyhoo, I think it is the best stew/soupy thing I’ve made. And it requires very little effort. Yeah!
The other great thing about this stew is that it makes its own broth. Well, as long as you use bone-in turkey drumsticks, that is. But do not fear, if these aren’t available you can substitute a couple pounds of your meat of choice and use stock instead of water.
Turkey Lentil Soup ~ 8 servings.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for an hour:
2 turkey drumsticks (~ 2 lbs. meat)
2 quarts water
While you are waiting for the water to boil you can get almost everything else going as well:
1. Over low heat, toast 2 tsp. fennel seeds. My husband says toasting them well is key to getting the best flavor out of them. I don’t really know because I just listen to him.
Don’t worry if that last sentance sounds really subservient, it doesn’t actually happen very often. Listening to him, that is… You don’t want to burn the seeds but you want them about twice as dark as they were before toasting. Mix them periodically to keep from burning and add them to the stew once toasted.
(Cockroach says: You have to go by smell, not color. Once the seeds become very aromatic, i.e. you can smell them without stooping over the pan, they’re done!)
2. Large dice and sweat, in a little oil over medium heat:
1 medium onion
1 large carrot
1 medium apple
1 large potato
Once this mixture is nice and aromatic, add it to the stew pot along with:
1 tsp. curry powder
1 T. marjoram
Once your broth has started to get some color and flavor, go ahead and add:
1 c. dried lentils (I used French green but I’m sure any type will do)
Simmer an additional half hour or until your lentils are cooked through.
Once your lentils are cooked, add:
2 c. blanched & frozen spinach or kale
1 T. cider vinegar
Salt to taste
Do NOT add salt or vinegar until your lentils are cooked through because they inhibit the absorption of water by the lentils. That being said, adding them after your lentils have reached the desired consistency prevents them from over-cooking and turning to mush. This also applies to dried beans.
Simmer a half hour more to allow the flavors to meld. By this time your meat should be falling off the bone. Remove the rest of the meat from the bones, tear/slice into desired size and add back to the stew, discarding bones.