Lentil, Sausage & Kale Soup
Had ourselves the first (and let's hope only) big snow storm just recently. Which for me means a few things.
I'll spend endless minutes getting my kids geared up just for them to get snow up their sleeves and come whining back in.
My floors look like an ice truck just came through.
I hunker down and cook like we'll be stuck inside for weeks.
And this storm brought pretty much the same 3 happenings. I will say though the kids lasted longer than usual outside. Maybe they are just getting older or I'm starting to ingnore them knocking on the back door to come back in. :)
Floors still look gross.
And I cooked like I knew I would.
One of the best outcomes of a good nor'easter is the abundance of hearty homemade dinner for days.
As was this soup. I was really aching for a good lentil dish leading up to the storm in fact. So when that snow began to build up and the weather man advised no driving, I grabbed that bag o' lentils and got busy.
I adapted a recipe my mom texted me from her Carmine's Family Style Cookbook. I basically doubled the bacon, cut out fresh herbs and added kale, give or take. I bet the original recipe is dynamite but I got to tell you, my version was pretty damn good. Something to do with that double bacon and sausage perhaps. Or maybe it was just the soul satisfying lentils simmered in chicken broth that had me in a trance. I guess I can't really pinpoint why I loved it so much. It was just a bowl of winter warming perfection.
It lasted for days too! I will say you definitely have to have extra chicken broth on hand to thin it out though. The potatoes and lentils really turn into sponges. Little rascals.
So as I write this, the snow is melting and the soup, sadly, is all gone. I don't really wish for another white-out but I do wish for another bowl of this soup.
Oh, and for my floors to get cleaned too.
Sausage, Lentil & Kale Soup
Adapted from: Carmine's Family Style Cookbook
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS unsalted butter
4 strips bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
3/4 C cherry tomatoes, halved and laid out on paper towels to dry
6 C low sodium chicken stock, plus about 4 C extra for leftovers throughout week
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 C lentils, rinsed and drained
3 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 head of kale, rinsed and coarsely chopped
Parmigiano Cheese, for garnish
Croutons, for topping
In small sauté pan, cook sausage over medium- high heat. Use a wooden spoon to break apart as it cooks. Cook until browned and into medium size crumbles and cooked through. Set aside in refrigerator.
In a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat, combine olive oil and butter until melted and foamy. Add bacon and cook for about 10-15 minutes until bacon is browned and starting to get very crispy.
Add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until garlic is softened. Add carrots, celery, and onions and cook for about 15-20 minutes until vegetables are softened and lightly browned.
Add 5 C of chicken broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Add lentils and increase heat to medium-high, bring to boil. Partially cover pot and reduce heat to low and a simmer. Cook soup for 45 minutes.
Add the potatoes and cook soup for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally- it will look thick. Add kale and about 1/2 C to 1 C stock and stir well. Cook until kale has wilted.
Add sausage and any fat that has rendered on the bottom of bowl back into soup. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Remove bay leaves.
Serve with grated Parmigiano and croutons atop!