Final stretch of winter is upon us! Which means now's the time to fill your belly with as much soup as you can.
I absolutely love soup, but never make it enough during the winter. One reason is that I tend to focus more on main dishes, and my soup recipes got lost in the mix. Plus they're not often hearty enough, and the boy isn't a huge fan of making them the star of a meal.
The solution: this soup!
The lentils, sausage, swiss chard, and veggies result in a soup that hearty and meaty and filling and bursting with tons of flavor and textures. Serve this with a piece of crusty bread (and a glass of red wine!) and you're set for the night.
I would apologize for the lack of a cute photo, but I'm not going to for 2 main reasons:
- This soup was too damn good, and eating took precedence over photographing this deliciousness!
- I live in Chicago and the sun sets well before I even leave work, so there's 0% chance I have any kind of great lighting when cooking these days.
Sausage, swiss chard, and lentil soup, from Smitten Kitchen
For the soup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large links of Italian sausage or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
For the garlic oil finish (I didn't try this, but Smitten Kitchen says it makes the world of difference)
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 cloves of sliced garlic in a small skillet over medium heat until garlic softens and hisses.
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish, optional
- Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional).
- Cook until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water, more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (Add more water if your soup is getting too thick during the cooking process).
- When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
- To finish, divide soup among bowls, and drizzle with the garlic oil finish (see above). Top with fresh Romano. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.