pantry soup (lentil and sausage soup with kale)

March 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

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As a selective meat eater, one of the things I miss most about my days of unabashed meat-eating are the dishes in the pot roast/meaty stew family. There’s just so much comfort to be had from brimming bowlfuls of tender meat and veggies cooked slowly in bright-tasting wines. Thankfully, this soup (which, if not a *proper* stew is well on its way) is chock full of its own brand of late winter (and wine-soaked) comfort.

This recipe was inspired by this one over at Food52, but incorporates a few important edits, perhaps MOST importantly the substitution of white wine for half of the water, which gave the soup a brighter and, candidly, sweetly boozier taste, and the substitution of field roast vegetarian sausage for the chicken sausage called for in the original. (I will, as an aside, make another plug for field roast sausages in all of their varieties. so good. and not pretty good for fake meat good. just good).

the stuff:
1T olive oil
1T other fat (i used duck fat, because that’s what I had in the freezer; the original recipe calls for bacon fat. in any event, if you have neither, feel free to use more olive oil!)
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 plus cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c. lentils (i used 1c green lentils, 1/2 c. yellow split peas, because that was what was in the pantry)
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 c kale, chopped (cut off the bottom stems, but there’s no need to spend any real time de-stemming)
4 sausages, cut into discs (I used field roast smoked apple sage vegetarian sausages)
2 c dry white wine
2 plus cups water
salt. lotsa salt.
pepper.

the how-to:
1. heat your fats (olive oil, duck fat) in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, salt and simmer until bright and just tender (approximately 5 minutes).
2. add 2c. white wine and simmer for 1 minute.
3. Add lentils, tomatoes, and 2 cups of water. raise the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat until the soup is at a simmer. add a generous pinch of salt and simmer for 30-40 minutes until lentils are just al dente (firm, but not hard. just a little bite), adding more water as necessary to cover the vegetables (i hope that it goes without saying that this will require you to test the done-ness of the lentils the old fashioned way– by tasting them) in the event your lentils still have too much bite as you’re nearing the 25-30 minute mark, cover the pot and continue to simmer.
3. in the interim, cut sausages into discs. saute the sausage in olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned on the exterior. remove from heat. Depending on the size of the sausage, you may want to consider cutting the slices in halves or quarters.
4. when lentils are nearly al dente, add in the chopped kale and stir. continue to simmer until the kale is bright green and just tender. stir in sausage. simmer 2-3 minutes to warm the sausages and remove from heat. serve.

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