This morning I proudly present to you, my hybrid recipe pulled from last week’s Quinciple box, Cook’s Illustrated, and my very own brain:
Lentil Soup with Lamb Sausage!
Side note: This soup turned out amazing . I have been eating it 2 meals a day for 2 days straight now! I always have doubts that whatever I make will be bland or I will make a mistake somewhere and the recipe will look funny or even worse- taste funny! I am extremely critical of my own cooking and baking, and always looking for constructive criticism from my victims… ahemm.. I meeeeaaaan the people who I love and cook for… but I felt as though this recipe, which was pretty simple, produced a wonderfully tasty outcome. The flavors are full of depth and the consistency is hearty but not too thick and tastes creamy without any cream or butter (AKA- dare I say it? healthy??? ish??) AND, my favorite part- easy prep, easy clean up, prepare cook and enjoy in under an hour! AND no lentil prep! LOVES IT!) Without further ado:
- 2 pieces of Lamb Sausage out of the casing and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.
- 1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 small shallots , chopped fine
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes (one recipe calls for drained, I did not drain)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves (optional- I did have in my fridge)
- 1 Tbsp Christopher Ranch garlic & ginger stir-fry paste
- Red peppa flakes to taste
- 1 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 teaspoon table salt (salt to taste)
- Ground black peppa (to taste- about 2 cranks on the mill per serving, I’d say about 8)
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (if you have less chix broth, sub the rest w/water)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 TBSP fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Optional as a side:
- Tondo Rolls from Graisy Bakery in Manhattan- Toasted, spread salted butter, serve on the side with soup!
Optional as a snack while cooking:
- Feta Cheese from Narragansett Creamery– It’s what REAL feta tastes like. The kind they use to top Greek salads in GREECE!
- Vino (your preference). I was drinking a very fancy Vinho Verde, about $4.50 from Trader Joe’s Union Square
- Fig-Ricotta Caramels from Liddabit Sweet in Brooklyn, NY These little gems are ADDICTING! Best caramel I’ve ever had. Consider yourself warned.
Side note: It takes patience, time, and technique to cook legumes, in this case lentils, carefully so that they hold their shape. I am still practicing! It’s not as easy as the recipes claim. Some tricks I have learned along the way is to only heat soups with legumes just until the point of boiling, then quickly turn the heat down to a simmer. In this recipe, we sweat the lentils with the vegetables before adding the liquid so they do not have to cook as long in the liquid. Keep an eye on your heat!
As always, prep your ingredients first. It makes your life so much easier!
In a heavy pot, brown the sausage on medium-high heat. I used my 5 qt dutch oven which was the perfect size. You will run into problems using a smaller pot.
Once sausage is cooked through and sufficiently browned, add onions, shallots and carrots. (If the sausage has not produced enough oil from it’s own fat while cooking, don’t be afraid to add a tablespoon of EVOO to the vegetables.) Soften the vegetables, stirring with a rubber spatula, about 2 minutes. Add garlic to the pot, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add can of diced tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, garlic ginger stir-frye paste and red peppa flakes cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lentils. Lower the heat to Medium-low and cover the pot, cook about 8 minutes. Make sure to give a stir every few minutes. You want to make sure the lentils don’t burn on the bottom of the DO (dutch oven) while sweating out the veggies.
Uncover, increase heat to high and add wine. Bring wine to a boil. Add chicken broth and water, bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn heat to low, partially cover pot, and let simmer for 35 minutes (until lentils are tender but still hold their shape. I somehow messed the “hold their shape part up this time around, but don’t worry if you do- it will still taste great. I promise!). Remove bay leaf.
Once lentils are ready, turn heat to medium low. Carefully, remove one cup at a time (for 3 cups). Put each cup separately in the blender and pour into a separate bowl. Once all thee cups are blended, return them back to the large pot. I say one at a time because hot liquid in a blender expands, and I don’t want you to get burned or make a mess. I have had this problem before. Blending only a portion of the soup gives it a really nice texture- creamy but not like a puree (we’re not 85!).
Stir in vinegar and parsley.
Decorate with extra parsley!
Side note: (I know there are a lot of these today!). This dish stained my dutch oven basically black on the bottom, but I was EASILY able to remove the stains with this kitchen trick I discussed a few weeks ago! #winning! #KitchenNerd
xoxo MCN(you like that? I think I might keep it)