This healthy soup isn't gorgeous, but it tastes great
Here's the perfect thing to go with your beer bread. This flavorful tummy warmer was another big hit at my Cozy Breads & Soups cooking class. It's quick and easy to put together, yet it tastes as if it's been simmering on the stove for hours. Start the soup, then mix up the beer bread batter while it comes to a boil, and in a little over an hour you'll be serving up cold weather comfort food at its best.
Add a bag of organic baby spinach tossed with your favorite dressing (or try my Lower Fat Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing) and an Emergency Chocolate Cake, and casual weeknight entertaining is suddenly a snap. Is everyone coming over to your place to watch the big game on Sunday? This recipe, which tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge, can easily be doubled, and it's hardly any more work to make two batches of beer bread (perhaps different flavors?) than it is to make one. Simply reheat the soup while the beer bread bakes, and you can effortlessly feed a crowd without missing a minute of the fun.
The nice thing about lentil soup is that it's very accommodating. You can make it with just about anything, and it's always tasty and satisfying. It happily adapts itself to whatever ingredients you have on hand, freezes beautifully, and can even be eaten cold. It's also cheap to make. Leftover lentil soup makes a lip-smacking lunch, whether consumed after a morning spent stacking firewood or slaving away in a cubicle.
This stew-like version takes advantage of the winter pantry by using canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and carrots. Packed with nutrients and fiber, it'll fill you up and keep you going. Consider trying a bowl for breakfast. Use whatever types of lentils and sausage strike your fancy.
This batch was made with these small, reddish brown organic lentils that I found in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market
and this fully-cooked, smoked kielbasa made by our local meat processor. Sausages vary widely from region to region (and even from town to town), so feel free to experiment. I once bought kielbasa from another nearby meat processor to use in this recipe, and it turned out to be an uncooked sausage that looked like what I call Italian sausage. The resulting soup was delicious. You can also omit the sausage altogether for a vegetarian version.
As always, I encourage you to seek out local and organic ingredients. They really do make a difference. Organic carrots and onions are year round best buys and can be found in many supermarkets. Are you a garlic lover? Look for interesting varieties of organic garlic—as well as other locally produced foods—at your local farmers' market.
Hearty Lentil Soup With Smoked Sausage
Makes about 8 cups — Recipe may be doubled
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. (8 ounces) kielbasa or other sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 large onion (about 12 ounces), chopped
3 medium carrots (about 12 ounces), chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups water
1 cup lentils, rinsed
1 28-ounce can tomatoes with juice (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pot. Add the kielbasa and cook over medium heat until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pot and set aside. When cool, slice rounds in half and set aside.
2. Add the onion and carrots to the pot, adding up to 1 Tablespoon of olive oil if necessary to prevent sticking. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring so that the vegetables are coated with the caramelized bits left in the pot from cooking the sausage. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 more minutes.
3. Add the water, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, with the lid cracked, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in the parsley, cumin, paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes if desired. Simmer, with the lid cracked, an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Carefully purée about half of the soup in a blender on low speed until still slightly chunky, then return to the pot. Or use an immersion hand blender to purée the soup to desired consistency. (I love my KitchenAid hand blender; it may be the best $50 I've ever spent in the kitchen.) Stir in the sausage. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
How about some bread to go with your soup?
Beyond Easy Beer Bread (my most popular recipe)
Quick Rosemary Focaccia
Whole Wheat Beer Bread
Onion Rye Beer Bread
Savory Feta Cheese & Scallion Scones
Parisian Four Hour Daily Baguettes
No-Knead Crusty Freeform Bread
Oatmeal Toasting Bread (makes great rolls, too)
Fresh Tomato & Basil Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Italian Black Olive Cheeks
Carrot Herb Rolls (And A Bargain Bread Book For Beginners)
Three Onion & Three Cheese Pizza
You might also enjoy my other Less Fuss, More Flavor soup recipes:
Quick Black Bean Soup/Chili
Quick and Easy Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato, & Artichoke Soup
Cream (or not) Of Artichoke Soup With Garlic, Onions & Garbanzo Beans
Broccoli Onion Garbanzo Bean Soup
Susan's Super Spinach Soup
Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup
Use It Or Lose It Lentil & Escarole Soup
Spur Of The Moment Summer Squash Soup
Simple Summer Harvest Soup
Simple Summer Harvest Soup, the Autumn Version
© Copyright 2005 FarmgirlFare.com, the tummy warming foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.