Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sausage, swiss chard, and lentil soup

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:
  1. This soup was too damn good, and eating took precedence over photographing this deliciousness!
  2. 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.
Yours in sharing delicious food and recipes, even if the pictures are a bit sub par,
Jacqueline

Sausage, swiss chard, and lentil soup, from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 6

Ingredients

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)
Kosher salt
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

Directions
  1. 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). 
  2. 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).
  3. When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes. Discard the bay leaves. 
  4. 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.


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