Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lentil Sausage Soup

I saw this recipe on a recent episode of Barefoot Contessa. I wasn't expecting to make it until the fall, but I mentioned it to bf and he begged me to try it before I left. Since the recipe makes so much, I thought it would be a good dish to try, and then I could leave a lot in the freezer for once I'm gone. It was absolutely delicious and I think it's our new favorite soup (which is a huge statement). It's also super healthy, isn't that hard and makes enough to feed a small village- which means leftovers galore. You could also make it with turkey sausage or spicy Italian to suit your tastes.

Lentil Sausage Soup
from the Food Network

1 pound green lentils
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
3 quarts Homemade Chicken Stock, recipe follows, or canned broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 pound sausage
2 tablespoons dry red wine
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

I started by putting the lentils in a medium size bowl. I then filled the tea kettle with water and brought it to a boil. Using the tea kettle, I filled the bowl with water until they were covering the lentils with about an inch of water. Then, I let the lentils sit for about 15 minutes before draining and rinsing.

Next, I started chopping. My only complaint about this recipe is that it requires a lot of chopping. I started by chopping the 3 onions, then the garlic and finally the leeks. Once all of those were ready, I heated up some olive oil, added those veggies to the pan, and sprinkled in the cumin, salt, pepper and thyme. I cooked this round of veggies for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they were soft and tender.

While the onion-leek mix was cooking, I chopped the celery and carrots. After 20 minutes, I added the newly chopped veggies to the pot and cooked for another 10 minutes or so.

Then I added the lentils, chicken broth and tomato paste to the pot. I brought the liquid to a boil, then reduced the heat, covered the pot, and simmered for about an hour. I was sure to check on the soup every so often, to stir and make sure nothing burned.

While the soup was simmering, I removed the casings from the sausage and added them to a hot skillet. I flipped the sausages every few minutes and broke them into bite sized pieces using a wooden spoon. Once they were done, I turned off the heat and set the pan aside.

After an hour, I added the sausage and the red wine to the simmering soup and cooked for a few more minutes.

I then served two gigantic bowls with Parmesan on top and yummy Honey White Bread on the side. It was a terrific combination and one I will definitely make again!

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