Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Lentil Soup with Sausage and Red Peppers

I knew I was taking a risk to try and get lentils past Chris for dinner.  Just the word itself sounded healthy.

I made this on my day off.  I wanted to have extra time to make it oh-so-good.  These kind of things have one chance, and if you screw it up- that first time will always get in the way of attempting to enjoy it a second time.  You can remember the first time you had brussel sprouts, or liver, or sardines, or you fill in the blank.  It made an impression.

Sarah Holtz, a client of mine from when we were in Rocklin gave me Seriously Simple Holidays as a Christmas gift last year.  I was just getting into cooking and now I treasure gifts like this- as it keeps on giving.  And this recipe DID NOT DISAPPOINT!  

Green Lentil Soup with Sausage and Red Peppers
(inspired and tweaked from Seriously Simple Holidays)

2 tbls olive oil
1 large onion
3 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 red bell pepper
2 large garlic cloves
1tsp fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups green lentils
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 lb cooked sausage of your choice
4 tbls fresh parsley
salt and pepper

I used homemade chicken stock, lentils from the Montana Grain Lab, and Italian sausage from Traders

Mirepoix is the word for these three.  They are the base of nearly every stew or French style potted dish.  A.k.a. the holy trinity of cooking.  Although- that might be debated in my kitchen.  Always good to have on hand for any cooking adventure or healthy snacking.

Saute them up with the olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Something is missing.  Another color?

Ah that's better.  Add your bell pepper and garlic.

And now for your lentil lesson.  Always rinse them and "pick them through."  Just like beans- pick out any no-namers, loser lentils, or particles.  Don't they just look like little pebbles?  Makes me want to go down to the river and wade in, skipping stones as I go.  Ah, for another day when it's not 25 degrees in Portland.

Lentils are high in protein!!!  And a great source of it too!  Tons of fiber and iron are packed into these unassuming pods.  Load up!

So, once the veggies have sauteed about 6 or 7 min, add the lentils, broth and 2 tbs of the chopped parsley. 

Season with salt and pepper- a good tablespoon of salt and some pepper should do the trick.

I also had some thyme too.  Throw it in if you've got "time."

Reduce the heat to medium low and cover.  Stir occasionally.  Cook for 40 min.

In the mean time brown your sausage as directed.

Exciting meat is an important part to getting others to like new and questionable soups. 

Cut them up into bite size pieces.

The original recipe called for a hand blender.  I wanted mine a little chunky so I put about half the soup into a blender for a quick pulse, then added it back in.

Then add your Sherry and your sausage to the pot and let the alcohol cook off (5 min or so).  Sherry is a VERY dry wine, often used in cooking.

Serve with fresh parsley on top.

So good for a satisfying dinner or a quick lunch on a brisk winter day.

Oh and Chris LOVED it.  Yes, I believe he used that word.  I had lots extra to freeze, but a few days later it was completely gone.  That speaks for itself.

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