Can you deal with another soup recipe? I hope so. I’ve been all about soup lately.
Soup that helps you feel better when you have a cold and a scratchy throat. Soup that warms you up when there’s a blizzard raging outside. Soup that’s easy to make, keep and enjoy as much the next day. Soup is the silver lining in a long Maine winter.
With dire forecasts of the impending snowpocalypse looming, I made one last run to the supermarket. At that moment, soup wasn’t really on my mind. I had a vague idea about it, but I was more concerned with having baking ingredients on hand. Eggs, butter, chocolate and brown sugar were in my basket, but not much else. I figured I could get out early Friday morning before the storm hit too hard.
Wrong. Yet again. It was already snowing steadily and I had no interest in leaving the house. Let’s just say it was noon before I even got out of my pajamas. Now I would have to make soup with ingredients I already had in the house. We keep spicy chicken sausage in the freezer at all times, so I had that going for me. Some green lentils were leftover from last week’s Curried Citrus Lentil Soup. Monsieur Mignardise (aka Bob) has been on a green smoothie kick lately, so we had a small stockpile of kale and spinach. And there are always cans of crushed tomatoes in the pantry. If all that doesn’t add up to soup, then I don’t know what does.
This recipe was pinched directly from Smitten Kitchen , (whose photography skills are infinitely better than mine.) Perhaps her pantry looks a lot like mine though and that’s how she came to make this soup. I’m glad she did. I made just a few small changes, as can you, to suit your taste. Use a sweet Italian sausage if you prefer, or one made with pork instead of chicken.I was surprised to see that the recipe calls for water instead of chicken broth, but I found that there’s so much flavor, there’s no need for the broth.
I also made a loaf of bread, using Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the best and only way I know how to bake bread.
Spicy Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup with Garlic
adapted from Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from Secrets of the Best Chefs)
Serves 6, or 3 with generous leftovers
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 small links spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup green or brown lentils
2 bay leaves
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
3-4 cups thinly sliced kale, swiss chard or spinach leaves
grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. When hot, add sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, 2 of the sliced garlic cloves, a big pinch of salt and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook another 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water* and more salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce immediately to a simmer. Allow soup to cook until the lentils are tender, about another 40 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, feel free to add a little more water to get it to a consistency you prefer.
When the lentils are cooked, add the kale (or other greens) and cook just until the leaves are wilted, a minute or so. Discard the bay leaves.
To finish, divide the soup among serving bowls. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 sliced garlic cloves in a small skillet. Cook until garlic softens slightly, without letting it brown. Drizzle a spoonful of the garlic/oil mixture over the soup in each bowl, then top with freshly grated Romano cheese.
*6 cups of water equals 2 empty 28-oz. cans from your tomatoes. No measuring cup needed!