I’ve had a shit day. It’s effing freezing out, the numerous delays on the T made my commute a complete nightmare and to top it all off, someone at work has been eating my granola! When I finally got home, all I wanted was a comforting, hot meal and this hit the spot. I adapted this from a recipe by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, who herself adapted the recipe from someone else.
- • 4 links of the sausage of your choice (sweet, hot, tofu based), casings removed. I used Chipotle Chedder "happy meat" sausage from Niman Ranch, because it's what I had in the freezer.
- • 1 medium onion, diced
- • 2 celery stalks, diced
- • 2 carrots, diced
- • 4 garlic cloves, minced
- • 1 cup brown lentils
- • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- • 6 cups liquid of choice (vegetable broth, chicken broth, better than bullion no chicken base, etc. )
- • S + P
- • 4 cups thinly sliced swiss chard, kale, or any other hearty leafy green of choice
- • Grated hard, salty cheese (Pecorino Romano, Asiago, Parmesian, etc)
- • Optional (but recommended if you've had a day like mine): freshly baked biscuits and a glass of red wine
- • and as always, any other vegetables that your heart desires
- Prep all your ingredients. Dice your vegetables, mince your garlic, etc. If you're using a sausage substitute or a pre-cooked sausage you'll want to dice that now as well.
- Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pot (or in my case, a teal dutch oven) and add the sausage. If you're using fresh sausage you will want to crumble it as you drop it in the pan and break it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. If it's pre-cooked, just stir it around a bit as it browns.
- Once the sausage is cooked (about 5 minutes), add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic. I had some baby bella mushrooms on hand, which I decided to add as well. If you've got any hardy vegetables that you would like to add, do so now. More delicate vegetables (like summer squash, zucchini, etc) can be added towards the end of the cooking process.
- When the vegetables have softened a bit (about 5 minutes), add the crushed tomatoes, cooking liquid and lentils. The recipe that I was (roughly) following suggested to simply use water, however I found this to be a little bland, so I added about 4 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base. I loooove this stuff, it is a surprisingly convincing substitute for chicken broth. But be careful with it, it's rather salty, so I always use less than is recommended, and then add more if I need to. Of course you can also use regular vegetable or chicken stock here.
- If you'd like to add any whole herbs, do so now. The original recipe called for 2 bay leafs. I didn't have any on hand, but I did add 5 whole sage leaves.
- Simmer until the lentils are fully cooked (about 40 minutes), then you may add your greens. This is a great idea if you're cooking for a crowd and don't expect to have any leftovers. However, if you're like me, and cook a massive pot of food that will feed you for days, I suggest holding off on the greens. Instead add a bit of greens to the bottom of your soup bowl, then ladle the hot soup on top. This means you'll have perfectly cooked greens with this serving and none of those nasty over-cooked greens in your leftovers.
- Top your soup with freshly grated cheese, pour yourself a glass of wine, pull a hot biscuit out of the oven and let your worries fade away.