Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

I have tried to deny it. I really have, but it was no use. Fall is here. Goodbye sweet summer. Your warm days, I fear, are all but in the past. Fair well my sweet sunny friend. Fall is here. It's true. It's been in the lower 40's every night this past week. Today, the high didn't even hit 60. I had to make our first fire of the season. It came on fast, and most of us are still trying to hold onto the last remaining strands of summer. Farmers markets have yet to put our fall/winter produce but it's only a matter of time. My friend Lisa over at Blue Marble Farm, refuses to even think about bringing her winter squash to the markets. She says it would be giving into the cooler weather and she wasn't ready to let all her beautiful tomatoes go.

However, there is one thing I simply adore about the cooler weather. Comfort food. Yep. Soups, stews, baked pasta dishes. They are some of my favorites. I mean, that is the point of comfort right? These dishes warm the heart and the soul. It doesn't mean that they have to be laden with fat and calories like most dishes are. In fact, soups are some of the healthiest and easiest things to make out there. It's pretty hard to screw up a soup if you ask me. The recipe for this soup is as simple as it gets. Italian sausage is sliced into rounds, browned, then cooked in a broth made from onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes and chicken stock. Throw in some green lentils and dark leafy kale, and you have a soup that is packed with all sorts of goodness. Oh and by the way, this easily becomes a meat free dish by leaving out the sausage.

What You Need:

1 tbs olive oil
4 links, Italian sausage (Hot or Mild, your choice)
1 large bunch of Kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 large carrots, sliced into half moons
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can (24oz) of crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 lb french green lentils
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Place your lentils into a large pot and cover by two to three inches of water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Meanwhile, heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. Slice the sauce into 1/4 inch rounds and sear in the pot. Once they start to brown, add in the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook for a few minutes or until the veggies start to soften. Stir in the can of diced tomatoes and the the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and stir in your kale. Cover your pot and let the kale wilt down into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain your lentils and stir into your soup. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the lentils have warmed through. Serve with a dollop of pesto on top if you choose. I had some garlic scape pesto that I put on top of mine.
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