A Little Claire-ification

bright ideas for the busy & budget minded…

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 17 – Creamy Lentil Soup with Sausage

on November 17, 2012

Today I am thankful for a lazy Saturday at home.  Life has been a little hectic for the last few weeks, and it’s just going to get more nuts over the next 6 weeks so it’s nice to have a quiet, calm day before the full-on crazy kicks in.

And…. Brrr.  I don’t know about you guys but the last two days have been chilly and gray hovering around 59* degrees!!

(I’ll pause here for a moment while those up North laugh out loud (justified) and say “Ohhh, bless her sweet little heart” (or whatever the Northern equivalent is to that little saying).

Ok, alright.  I know it’s not really THAT cold but for Central FL it’s a little chilly for this time of year!  And don’t get me wrong.  I L-O-V-E when it starts to cool off.  Makes us feel like we actually have a Fall season here in Florida and it also makes it easier to get into the Christmas spirit! (not to mention, 90* in October + children’s Halloween costumes = not pretty, y’all).

Anyway, cooler weather always puts me in the mood for good soup.   Oh who am I kidding?  Grrrrl, I eat soup all year ’round – even when it’s 100*  out.  I just pat the cute little beads of sweat off my forehead and upper lip, as any proper lady would do, and dig in.  Tomato Basil Bisque with a melty grilled cheese dipped in??  Come on now.  These are things that we can’t  just save and chalk up as “Winter only” foods.  That’s right up there with the “Don’t wear white after Labor Day” rule.  Pfffft.   I defy these silly rules and eat them for breakfast.  Dipped in soup.

So on this blustery slightly cool Fall day I was inspired to make one of my favorite soups (for the record, you should know that I was also inspired to make about 268 other gorgeous recipes and at least 96 beautiful crafts that I saw on various sites and blog posts today so, lest anyone feel inadequate, you can rest assured I am probably more behind than you are).

Ahhh creamy lentil soup.  This is a super easy recipe.

{Some quick fun facts about Lentils:   Archeological evidence shows lentils were eaten as early as 9,500 to 13,000 years ago.  With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp.}

Good to know, right?  Here’s a shot of me in my recent 5K / obstacle race.  Protein is good and makes ya’ strong!  But really only showing this to try and justify why I don’t feel so bad about inviting the sausage to this party (by the way – I thought I might die at several points during this race!).

I have three children. Why am I doing this again??

Let’s get started on the soup, shall we?  The main ingredients:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 4 cups chicken stock (substitute water for vegetarian diets)
  • 2 carrots,  roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. thinly sliced sausage (there are plenty of vegetarian sausage options out there too!)
  • 1 baguette or some other crusty bread cut into thin slices (at least 3 per person)

The lentils should soak for at least two hours prior to cooking.  If you are “Miss Plan Ahead” (I humbly salute you) soaking overnight is fine as well.

Another fun fact – French chefs have a term for having all of your ingredients prepped and at the ready:   Mise-en-place (pronounced [miz on plas], literally “putting in place”) means “everything in place”, as in set up.  It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meatrelishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.

I love that there Wikipedia.  😉  My “Mees-On-Plas”, y’all:

On Medium-High heat, add the chicken stock, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, thyme sprigs and bay leaf to your Dutch oven or desired cooking pot.

Once the stock begins to boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 45 minutes.

In the meanwhile chop your sausage into thin discs. In this case we used Kielbasa because that is what we had on hand.  Chorizo or any other link sausage will work.  Make it your own.

Place a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Once the pan is really hot, add the sausage rounds.  These need to be watched and loved on (sounds like me on a Target shopping trip).  You want them to get a wee bit crispy so when they really get cooking , flip them over.

Repeat several times until the edges are crisped.  Once you have those crispy little discs of goodness beaten into submission, remove them from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate.  Do NOT discard the pan juices.  Set the pan aside for now.

Once the lentil mixture is done, remove and discard the bay leaf and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.  {**Make ahead tip –  you can always refrigerate  – or even freeze in containers – at this point.  Just make sure the soup is at room temperature before you put it in the fridge or freezer containers.}

When slightly cooled, pour the lentil mixture into your blender (do not fill more than 2/3 – blend in two batches).  Let cool some more – at least 10 minutes.

Place the top on your blender and release the little section on top so that you don’t have a “big hot mess”. If the top to your blender does not have that feature then do NOT seal the top tightly.  Leave a little room for the hot steam to escape but in EITHER case, keep your hand firmly on the top.  If you have cooled your soup completely you will not have to worry about this, of course.

Blend the soup until smooth (at least one minute).

and then pour the blended soup back into the Dutch oven (or whatever pot you used).  Set the burner to the lowest setting to keep warm.

To serve immediately, ladle the soup into bowls.  Place a few sausage rounds on top and then drizzle a little bit of the sausage drippings over the top.   Serve with a couple of slices of french bread  – great for dipping!  Just yummy, hearty comfort food that is good for the soul!  Enjoy!

I love to read your comments so let me know – what is your favorite soup?   Make sure to pop over and like me on FaceBook too!

Have a great weekend!

xoxo,

Claire

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8 responses to “30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 17 – Creamy Lentil Soup with Sausage

  1. LOL Claire, I had to laugh…..I always have to have tomato soup and grilled cheese together and my husband thinks it is SO weird. He swears that is not a thing and I swear that it is…..so happy to finally have confirmation! 🙂

  2. sandra647 says:

    First, to you and Ruth, I ALWAYS serve tomato soup and grilled cheese together. It is like mashed potatoes, meant to be. ‘Nuff said about that.
    I eat soup all year, it is one of my favorite meals. I could probably live quite happily on soup and bread. And cheese, of course. Lentil soup is one of my favs, but I never thought of blending it. Great idea!!! I make a similar dish, but instead of sausage, I use ground beef, and brown the meat and chopped onions until the meat is crispy, set aside, then put the meat and onions and some of the drippings in towards the end. Next time, I am going to try your recipe.

  3. Being Italian-American I am a fan of both lentils and sausage. As soon as the weather got chilly my mom would start making lentil soup. it is high in iron too. One of my grandmothers put sausage in her lentil soup. Can’t wait to try your recipe. thanks for sharing it on foodie friday.

    • Claire says:

      Hi Diane! I am so glad you stopped by – I hope life is starting to get back to normal after storm Sandy. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  4. marianhd says:

    I love lentil soup for the nutrition, the easy-ness (I’ve never soaked them before), and the low price tag. I’ve never added any sausage (as a vegetarian) but you make a great point–veggie sausage would be amazing. This goes on the list of soups to make! Thanks for sharing!

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