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Hit the Spot With Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup

The weather is supposed to turn decidedly colder here in New York tomorrow and stay that way for at least the few days after that, meaning it creeps even closer to actually being winter here and makes the idea of soups and stews even more palatable than before. I have already been getting my arsenal of recipes ready to make soups and stews this winter and have a bunch i want to try, but I decided to start out with this particular recipe that I found mainly because I had a lot of Italian sausage in the freezer and a bag of lentils that I was trying to figure out what to do with. I came across this recipe from Todd Wilbur as a Top Secret recipe and a version of Carrabba’s spicy sausage lentil soup. I have never had this particular soup at Cararabba’s and I have only been to a Carrabba’s once in my life so I don’t know much about them, but this soup sounded pretty good and easy to make, so I gave it a shot. This recipe makes a large portion, and I’ll show the original recipe here, but I cut this recipe in half to make it for my family.

Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup minced onion

3/4 cup grated and minced carrot

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 pound uncooked hot Italian sausage

2 ounces diced ham

7 cups water

5 cups chicken broth

1 pound dry lentils

1 tomato, diced

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove the Italian sausage from its casing and add it to the pan. Saute the sausage for about 8 minutes, stirring it often. Break up the sausage into bite-size bits as it cooks with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the diced ham, stir to combine with the other ingredients in the pot and cook the mixture for an additional minute.

Add the water, chicken broth, lentils, tomato, white wine vinegar, basil, parsley, bay leaves, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes and stir to combine the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the soup for about 1 hour, until the lentils are tender. Serve the soup in cups or bowls.

It’s a pretty basic recipe that gives you some great flavors. I love lentil soup on its own but adding the sausage to it added some great flavor and spice. You can use a ham steam for the ham or if you don’t have that I think deli ham would suffice or just leave out the ham altogether if you like. This makes a lot of soup, even after I cut the recipe in half for the three of us there was a lot leftover, which is okay with me because it makes a great lunch alternative for this time of year. It is simple with great chunks of sausage to go along with the lentils, vegetables and herbs and it gets a little kick from the hot sausage and the pepper flakes.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Beans, Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Pork, Sausage, Soups & Stews

 

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When it’s This Cold, Part 2 – This Time It’s Soup – Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup

It is still freezing cold here in New York and today it is snowing again. It seemed even colder yesterday and the day before that. It would be nice if we got a little bit of a break in the weather and I cannot wait for winter to be over already. For now, we’ll just have to deal with it and that means more warm and hearty meals. Yesterday it was the bean stew recipe, today it is a recipe for lentil soup. Again, I was going for soup recipes that were quick and easy and didn’t need all day to cook or prepare. I found this one from Alton Brown for a simple lentil soup and I wanted to give it a try.

Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed

1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes

2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground grains of paradise

Place the olive oil into a large Dutch oven and set it over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and kosher salt and sweat the vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, chicken or vegetable broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir the mixture until it is well combined. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the  pot and cook the soup at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree the soup to your preferred consistency and serve.

Just a few points about this recipe. First, you are probably wondering what the heck grains of paradise is. I love Alton Brown, but he can make use of some unusual and really hard to find ingredients sometimes. Grains of paradise is a spice from West Africa that is very much like a mix of pepper, cardamom and coriander. For the amount needed for this recipe, I couldn’t see myself going out and buying it since it can be quite expensive and the odds are pretty good I would not be able to find it locally anyway. Instead, I looked around on the Internet and saw that as a substitute many people use freshly ground black pepper or cardamom. I decided to go with the black pepper myself and just used that. Also, this time of year the tomatoes in this area are not very good, so I simply substituted a cup of canned diced tomatoes instead and I think they worked out just fine anyway. You also want to make sure that you pick over your lentils before you use them. Most of the time there is no issue at all, but rinsing and picking over them just to check for pebbles and such is always a good idea when you are using dried beans like this. Nothing spoils a meal faster than getting a rock in your soup. As for the soup itself, I love lentil soup and this one had a nice flavor from the coriander and the cumin. It was very filling and hit the spot and took no time at all to make. I made some cream biscuits to go along with the meal and we were all good to go with leftovers for another day.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day, keep staying warm, and enjoy your meal!

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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