Kitchen Hack: Roast Chicken, Lentil Soup

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Here are 2 wonderful winter meals. One is an elegant dinner for the first night and then a hearty soup made from the roasted chicken is for the second night.

The key to success hinges on using chicken breasts with bones. Sometimes these are called split breasts or chicken with ribs. You can find them in the poultry section of your local store.

First step:

Place the chicken breasts in a lightly oiled, oven-proof pan with some wedged beets,  minced fresh garlic, and poultry seasonings.

You can use dried seasonings or fresh herbs. I was using a fresh herb mix called poultry herbs that consist of thyme, sage, and rosemary. I like to buy this mix because you get three types of herbs in one package. A little black pepper is great, too.

The beets used are a combination of gold and red. They are rinsed (remove all dirt) and then cut into wedges.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375F or until the chicken is done (internal temp of 165 and juices run clear).

Remove the chicken meat from the bone and add to a plate with the beets. I was cooking this meal ahead of time so I just placed it on a plate for pictures and then refrigerated promptly in a bowl, ready to reheat later.

Okay it is time to make the soup.

Now you are ready to use the same pan and the chicken bones to make a delicious soup!

Add some chopped vegetables. Here I used a combo of items on hand: parsnip, peppers, onions, carrots, and fennel.

Add about 2 cups of lentils and 4 cups of water.

Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes. The chicken will fall off the bone as you cook and stir. You can take off any remaining pieces of chicken and add them to the soup. Discard the bones. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also add more fresh herbs from the poultry mix.

Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to serve.

These items go great with a salad. Here is one with a kale greens mix, diced oranges, and dried cranberries. It will be dressed with vinegar and oil.

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