Rustic Lentil Soup

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Soup is one of my favorite things to make especially if I’m mulling something over.  The rhythm of the chopping, stirring  and the sprinkling  allows me to work through issues in my head.  Many a decision  has been made in my kitchen over a simmering pot of soup. Try it, let me know how it works for you, oh, an let me know how you like the soup too!

Rustic Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 ounces diced pancetta

2 strips bacon, diced

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 celery stalks chopped

1 onion peeled, and coarsely chopped

2 small plum tomatoes, cored and finely chopped

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

6 to 8  cups chicken stock plus more to thin the soup if necessary

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups green lentils rinsed and drained

1 russet potato, peeled and diced

1 to 2 (about 5 ounces) chicken sausage sweet or hot

Directions:

1.  In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter starts to foam.  Add the pancetta and bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until the garlic has softened, about 2 minutes  Add the carrots, celery and onions and cook until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, strain the chopped tomatoes through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible.

3. Add 6 cups chicken stock to the pot and then stir in the strained tomato pulp, tomato paste,  bay leaves, salt, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper.  Add the lentils, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.  Partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook the soup for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

4.  Add the potatoes and cook the soup for about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils and potatoes are tender.  Gradually add more chicken stock if the soup becomes too thick.

5.  Meanwhile, remove the casings from the sausage.  In a small nonstick saute pan over high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon for 54 to 5 minutes or until it is nicely browned.

6. Add the sausage and any fat remaining in the pan to the soup.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Taste the soup and add salt if necessary.  Remove the bay leaves and serve.   Enjoy! xo

 

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