We are in Colorado now for the winter season. It’s just one of those cozy, stay at home nights. My plan is to start the entire season of “Homeland ” tonite on demand tv. So as you can tell I have my work cut out for me. Lentil Soup was my thought with salad and a nice crusty whole grain bread. I am putting some spicy chicken sausage in it tonite as I want it to have a bit more substance as it is the main meal. Hope you feel like you want to make this hearty delicious soup. Also this will keep in fridge for at leasat 4 – 5 days, and it freezes well. I got my inspiration for this soup from Joy the Baker and my usual recipe without chicken sausage. A few new spices like turmeric and cumin in it as well. Just an aside a little tidbit on Turmeric, it has long been considered to be one of nature’s most powerful healers, so use it in the soup! Making soup is not an exact science so if you don’t have all the spices, no biggie, if you want to use vegetable broth and no meat it’s OK, if you want to use turkey or pork sausage that’s perfectly acceptable. Just keep the liquid ingredients and the lentill proportion as is and you can add or subtract whatever you like. One suggestion is to add some spinach or swiss chard at the end of the cooking. I didn’t this time, but it is a nice touch, add it at the end of cooking, and it will wilt quickly and you can serve. This will serve between 6 – 8 people nicely . So we will have plenty of leftovers to freeze up for another time.
3 tablespoons of olive oil + one more after sausage browns ( you may need a bit more, you’ll have to play with it)
1 lb. chicken sausage , out of casing. I am using spicy chicken sausage, if you can’t get you can always add some crushed red pepper flakes for kick.
1 yellow onion chopped ( about a cup) more or less
3 stalks celery diced
3 carrots diced small
3 cloves garlic minced
2 cups uncooked lentils (any kind you can get)
1 tsp. kosher salt ( you will taste for salt and pepper at end)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ( you may or may not want to add, depends on how spicy and hot you like it) you can also substitute cayenne powder (use 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne)
8 cups chicken broth (also nice to use 1/2 veggie and 1/2 chicken )
1 – 2 cups of water depending on how much you’ll need at the end
Grated Parmesan Cheese
In a large saucepan ( Le Creuset once again) over medium heat, heat up the 3 tablespoons of olive oil . Add the chicken sausage and cook, breaking up the chicken with the back of a wooden spoon so pieces are smaller and crumbly.( small chunks) Once it’s cooked ( about 8 – 10 minutes ) remove from pan.
See if you need more olive oil and add if you do. ( I did add about 1 more tablespoon)Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent ( 5 – 7 minutes) Stir occasionally. Add the garlic, and spices , cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes . Add the sausage back into the pan, Stir to incorporate all . Add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup, uncovered , until the lentils are soft. At least an hour, I like it to cook for as long as I can. I added about 2 cups of water towards the end, you’ll have to see for yourself, add a little at a time. Serve soup with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan Cheese, and good crusty bread.