A Winter Weekend in the Cascade Mountains and Chicken Lentil Soup

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Chicken Lentil Soup 

I love living in Southern Oregon.  One of my favorite things to do during the winter months is to visit the Cascade Mountains.  This year our family and friends stayed in some cabins up at Hyatt Lake over the weekend.  Hyatt Lake is about an hour drive from our home but in snowy weather, it may take twice as long.  There was at least 3 feet of fluffy snow on the ground and the temperature was a bone chilling 16 degrees.   The only way we could get up to our cabins was with four wheel drive pickup trucks for there was nearly 10 miles of narrow snow packed roads.

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A view up towards the summit.

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Along the edge of Hyatt Lake.  The lake was frozen over.  During the summer months, Hyatt Lake is known for its wonderful trout fishing and camping.

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A view across the lake.  The ice on the lake was only a few inches thick and covered with snow.  We would not dare walk out onto the lake for it was too risky and dangerous.

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Sunset in the forest.  It was eerily quiet.  The only noise that we heard was the snow dropping off the branches of the trees.  There were no birds, squirrels or any signs of wildlife. The birds either migrated south or are spending the winter in the valley below. Other animals such as black bear, skunks and squirrels are hibernating in their dens.  Deer, cougars and elk generally find their way down to the warmer lower elevations during the cold winter months.

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A view from the top of the mountain.  You can see the ski resort at Mount Ashland in the background.

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Snow covered Chinquapin Mountain. In late spring, when the snow has melted, Chinquapin Mountain is one of my favorite places to hunt for Morel mushrooms.  When I get some mushrooms this year, I’ll be sure to post some delicious Morel mushroom recipes.

After spending a cold day in the snow, my Chicken Lentil Soup is a perfect way to warm up. My Chicken Lentil Soup is made with locally grown organic green Laird Lentils, carrots, onions, celery, chunks of tender chicken and flavored with my homemade Garam Masala Spice Blend.  It’s easy to make, tastes delicious, and as an added bonus, it’s really good for you too!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Laird lentils (washed and picked over)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs Garam Masala spice blend
  • 1 12 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan with a lid, saute onion, carrots, celery and red bell pepper in olive oil.  Cook until onions are translucent and tender.  Add lentils, Garam Masala, tomatoes, garlic and chicken stock.  Cook on low heat until lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Add cooked chicken about 10 minutes before lentils are done.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Serve hot with crusty bread.  Makes about 4 servings.

*Note:  I used precooked chicken that I found in the deli section of my favorite store.  I added the chicken towards the end of the cooking process because I wanted the chicken to stay tender.

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26 thoughts on “A Winter Weekend in the Cascade Mountains and Chicken Lentil Soup

  1. Lasuch w kuchni

    Beautiful weekend getaway:-) And the soup sounds really delicious Tessa :-) It would be perfect also for me since it’s a bit frosty here. It would warm me up to the bones :-) And by the way, yesterday I cooked similar soup to your cremini soup that. I used regular champignions instead since I don’t have access to cremini mushrooms. The soup was soooo delicious, so velvety, yum, yum, yum. It will appear on my blog later today, of course with link to your recipe as my inspiration:-D So once again thanks for sharing this great recipe :-D

    1. Tessa Post author

      Hi Joanna! Thank you! I’m glad that you liked the mushroom soup! I can’t wait to see what you’ve dished up :)!

  2. mjskit

    What a beautiful place!! We use to love to drive up to mountain cabins and go cross country skiing! And you’re right – nothing better than to come back to a hearty and hot soup! Your soup looks delicious and the garam marasal is perfect for a quick warm up. Gorgeous pics!

  3. Roberta

    Hi Tessa, I’m finally back!
    This is a beautiful place and I can imagine what a good week end you had!
    Finally, I’, really loving these soup, I think I’m gonna try it someday.
    Hugs :)

  4. Mary - m.ade b.y m.ary

    Amazing pics, and lentil soup can taste soooo good, send me some please??! ;) A lot of snow in Sweden as well but I live kinda far from the mountains, your pics make me miss them even more than I already did!

    1. Tessa Post author

      Thank you Mary! These mountains were home to me many years ago… I am so glad that they are such a short distance to my home now.

    1. Tessa Post author

      Thank you Sissi! With all the cold weather that we are having here too, I’ll be posting more warming dishes… I can’t wait until spring!

  5. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

    Your photos are just stunning.. they’re truly magical. We had about as much snow in Vernon, BC over Christmas, it’s not far from where you were I think? We would have loved a bowl of your soup after our days in the snow! xx

  6. jlaceda

    A cup of this soup would be good for my soul right now. I’ve been so stressed lately! And thanks for sharing your winter mountain photos. It made me feel relaxed, even for just a few minutes! Loving the soup – it’s something my kids can enjoy as well.

    1. Tessa Post author

      Thank you Jen! I read your last post and I understand. Try not to stress. Just keep focused on your goals and don’t worry if you slip up now and then :).

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