So far, it seems The South goes kicking and screaming into fall. A cool week, then an 80-degree weekend. We’ll have rain, then we’ll have sun to make everything muggy. The honeysuckles are still blooming, but the maple leaves are turning into their own kind of brilliant flower.
All of this brings me to soup. Thick, spicy, hearty, fill-that-tummy-up soup. We really don’t eat enough of this economical food in my home, so we recently decided to change that. What immediately came to mind is a soup that I love but never have made: lentil soup.
I browsed a few recipes on FoodNetwork.com, and decided on Ina Garten’s recipe, after reading glowing review after glowing review (tip: always read reviews of Food Network recipes – it is a rare luxury to hear others’ experiences of online recipes). She combines dark green French lentils with a ton of onions, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, cumin, tomato paste and red wine. Oh, and kielbasa sausage (for the Polish in me).
It was a great combination of flavors, although I must say that my Dutch oven was too small to fit all the chicken stock she asks for. No worry, just fill the pot as much as you can.
1 pound French lentils
1/4 c. EVOO
3 large yellow onions, diced
2 leeks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T minced thyme
1 tsp. cumin
5 stalks celery, diced (I used hearts)
5 carrots, diced
3 quarts (boxes) chicken stock
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced into half-moons
1/4 c. dry red wine (I used a cheap Malbec)
Cover the lentils with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In large Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and cumin for 20 minutes. Add celery and carrots and saute 10 min. Add stock, tomato paste and lentils and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour. Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax.
Once the lentils are tender, check for seasonings and add the sausage and wine. Simmer until the kielbasa is heated through.
To serve, drizzle olive oil over the portioned soup and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Add a great loaf of bread and simple salad and you have a complete and healthy meal.
This will definitely make enough to freeze the leftovers, so I wouldn’t recommend doubling the recipe. It was a truly satisfying combination of flavors – exactly what we were looking for on a drizzling, gray autumn day.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo