Lentil and Kale Soup with Sausage

It’s an unusually cold and gray Spring day.  On top of that I have what is either the beginnings of a Summer cold or a sinus infection working its way toward true misery.  Working on the theory that it’s a cold I decided to make soup with the things that are supposed to help with a cold – chicken stock and vitamin C.  Add in some folate, iron and B vitamins and you have an all around healthy dinner.  The only thing I really needed was someone else to make it!

Lentil Kale and Sausage Soup

This is a Gourmet magazine recipe from 2008.  I happened upon it in a cookbook compilation of recipes from Gourmet.  I do find a lot of my recipes online, but there’s something about flipping through a real cookbook that I find rewarding.  It took about 4 cookbooks before I found a soup recipe that appealed. I wanted something that incorporated the sausage I’d already thawed and at least one of the things I bought at the farmers’ market this morning.   My choices were baby turnips, turnip greens or lacinato kale.   Bingo – kale and sausage are a terrific combination in soup.

The original recipe called for escarole, but I substituted the lacinato kale from the farmers’ market.  I didn’t have any celery so I doubled the carrots.  I only used about half the sausage called for, but it’s super awesome Sausage Craft San Miniato Sausage so a little less works fine.  Saves fat and calories too.  Next time I’d remove the casings and cook the sausage into crumbles instead of slicing it.  It would stretch a little further that way and the flavor would be more even throughout the soup.  I doubled the red wine vinegar because the soup needed some extra tang.

The flavors and textures here are nicely balanced.  Earthy lentils, sweet carrots, salty sausage, chewy kale.  The red wine vinegar at the end is a nice touch.  In my other lentil soup that tang comes from white wine. This is a little more concentrated and a good fit for this soup.  This is a perfect soup for an early Spring day.  Full of protein and vegetables; warm and hearty; filling, but not too heavy.  Yum.

p.s.  This must have some curative powers.  I had it for dinner last night and ran 10 miles this morning!

Good?  Very good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Not so much, but good for a cold/sinus condition.
Special shopping? Nope.

Lentil and Kale Soup with Sausage

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed well
5 cups water
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 lb kale, chopped (4 cups packed)
4 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Directions

•Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a 4-qt pot, uncovered, 12 minutes.
•Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-qt pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
•Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, remaining garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
•Stir in kale and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

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