Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friendship Soup--Wholesome and Delicious

Spring is in full bloom, and I love it! In light of the warmer weather, it may seem a bit strange to be posting a soup recipe. While I agree that soup is more of a winter food, I do still sometimes make it even in the warmer months. And this is such a filling, wholesome and delicious soup that it is great all year round.
Friendship Soup is a soup I grew up on. It gets its name from the fact that it works great to layer the dry ingredients in a jar and give away as a homemade gift to friends. All they have to do is add the tomatoes, meat and water and cook! A family friend gave a jar of the soup ingredients to my mom year ago, and my mom has been making it ever since.

Since getting married, I have frequently turned to this soup for a staple meal option (Lukas loves it!) and have passed along the recipe to my mother-in-law. What I love about this soup is how filling it is, how delicious it tastes, and how healthy it is. It incorporates such nutritious and often-forgotten-about ingredients, such as lentils and split peas, and it has great Italian flavoring. And for someone who really tries to cook healthy foods (although I still can't resist making the occasional dessert!), this soup is a great option!

Look at that wholesome goodness!
Friendship Soup
1/2 cup dry split peas
1/3 cup beef bouillon 
1/4 cup barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/4 cup dried minced onion
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup uncooked white or brown rice
1/2 cup alphabet macaroni or other small macaroni
1 pound browned ground beef
3 quarts water
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (or two smaller cans that are about 15 oz each)

Put all dry ingredients, except for pasta, in a large pot. Add browned ground beef, 3 quarts of water and the canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add reserved macaroni; cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all is tender.

To give as a gift: Layer all the dry ingredients in a jar. Put pasta in a small plastic bag and place as the top layer of the jar. Include instructions for how to prepare the recipe and what ingredients they need to add. Would work great as a Mother's Day gift (not too far away), new neighbor gift, Christmas gift (OK, so might have to stash that idea away for a while) or a just-because gift.