Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Soup in a Jar

I know what you're thinking. You're wondering why on earth we'd post a gift jar the week after Christmas, when you've surely finished making the rounds with holiday goodies and don't need any clever ideas until next year.

But if I had posted this two weeks ago, all of it's intended recipients would have seen it and ruined the surprise. Just look at it this way - you have a very early start on next year.

Unlike most dehydrated soup mixes, this doesn't come out powdery, gummy, or mushy. It was inspired by this 101 Cookbooks recipe, which is mostly composed of dried ingredients in the first place. I substituted dried shallots for the fresh, and they're really very good - none of the metallic taste or harsh flavor you often get from onion or garlic powder. Penzey's toasted onion flakes might be an interesting substitute also.

Ingredients Needed:

1 1/3 c. dried red lentils, divided
1/2 c. dry brown rice
7 tsp. chicken or vegetable bouillon, powdered (salt-free is acceptable)
4 Tbsp. dried shallots
pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika

1 pint-sized mason jar, with lid and ring

Pour a mounded 1/3 c. red lentils into the bottom of the jar. Layer with the brown rice and another mounded 1/3 c. of lentils, being careful to pour them in gently so that they don't displace the previous layer and mix together.

Mix the bouillon, shallots, red pepper, and paprika in a small bowl and then add as the fourth layer. Take a soup spoon or small spatula and gently but very firmly pack the seasoning mix down very tightly against the bottom layers. This will not only pack the seasoning mix down but will also pack down the layers underneath it and help keep them from shifting.

When the seasoning mix is packed tightly, add the remaining lentils (slightly more than 1/3 c). Add a few more if the jar is not completely full, so that it is packed full and won't shift easily. Top with lid and ring.

I like to print instructions and then cut them in a circle to place in the lid. They should read as follows:

Red Lentil and
Brown Rice Soup

Place in a medium sized soup pot.
Add 7 c. water.
Simmer until rice is very tender.
(about 45-60 minutes)

I shipped one of these across the United States. Lying on it's side the layers shifted a tad, so that they were slight slanted, but they did not mix together. If I were to do it again, I'd try to ship it upright. They can deal with being tilted quite a bit, but I guess lying on it's side all the way across the Rockies was just a bit too much!

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