The Quarantine blues are really hitting everyone this week. We have all made elaborate cakes, pies and sour dough starter. We still have to make dinner, but can’t we just do something simple that will fill us up but not pack on the pounds.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you lentil and sausage soup.
This healthy and yes- hearty (overused word of the day), is packed full of vegetables: carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, spinach and French lentils which are full of goodness. Just a quarter cup of lentils have 14 grams of fiber, 13 grams of protein and loads of calcium and potassium. It may be a peasant recipe, but my lentil and sausage soup is fit for a king. Or at least a hungry family that wants dinner in about an hour.
Chances are you have most of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge: broth or stock, lentils, canned tomatoes, garlic, onions and carrots. Maybe you have some greens like kale or spinach about to go bad- throw them in the pot. Most recipes call for a traditional Mirepoix. I never seem to have celery on hand so I leave it out of my recipe. I do add in kielbasa which is inexpensive and keeps just about forever in the fridge. If there is a BOGO, I always stock up. It’s leaner than sausage, but If I wasn’t under quarantine, I’d be heading to the Perfect Cuts, the local butcher in Columbia Falls to pick up a fantastic house made pork sausage.
I also throw in whole stems of thyme and rosemary. The leaves eventually melt into the broth and I just fish out the stems before serving. Crisp white wine goes well with this. Grate some fresh parmesan for the table and warm up a loaf of yummy bread- you know you have some sour dough starter left.
Wash your hands. Be safe. Stay at home. Summer will come and we can all go out again soon and share this meal together.
Lentil and Sausage Soup
1 1/2 cups dry French lentils
`1 large yellow onion, chopped into chunks
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic , chopped fine
2 kielbasa sausages or 1 lb of pork sausage , chopped
1 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
32 oz unsalted chicken stock or broth
3 cups fresh baby spinach or kale, washed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and fresh pepper to taste
Method- prep time 30 minutes, cook time 1 hour
- In a fine sieve, rinse lentils well. Soak lentils for 5 minutes in a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 TBSP olive oil. Sauté carrots and onions until onions begin to soften- about 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic. Sauté another minute. Toss in potatoes and coat with olive oil warming them through. Stir in red pepper flakes, ground pepper and fresh herbs- rosemary and thyme. Add in Kielbasa or sausage and stir until well combined.
- Drain lentils and add them to the pot. Add in tomatoes with their juices and, if desired, fill the tomato can with water and pour into soup- this adds a bit more tomato flavor. Add in chicken broth or stock. Bring to a boil for one minute, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour covered.
- Before serving, add in fresh greens. I like spinach, but chopped kale works really well. Fish out stems from the herbs. Check to see if salt is needed. Serve piping hot with freshly grated parmesan on the side to sprinkle over soup.
- This makes a great quick lunch the next day. Just add in more water or extra broth, a few more veggies or another potato and leftover soup. Bring to a boil, simmer until veggies are fork tender. Drizzle with more olive oil if desired.
- If you use sausage and it is uncooked, cook the sausage before the veggies to render the fat, wipe down your pot to remove most of the fat and then continue on with step 2.
For a fantastic day after soup, I added in some chopped leftover Easter ham, more lentils, another potato & carrot and more broth. I added the leftover soup to this and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. This is a great soup for those days when you really need to tidy up your fridge- just throw stuff in the soup pot. The lentils and potato can really soak up the broth overnight becoming mushy so I just like to brighten up my leftovers with some fresh ingredients to stretch out the soup.