Seriously, could you ask for a better [insert adjective for cold here] weather meal than a piping hot bowl of hearty soup? Probably not. If for no other reason, this week of bitter, record cold weather has reminded me how much I love soup. And if you remember way back when, I couldn’t make soup for the life of me. My my, how things have changed. It seems like every soup I make is better than the last (except the bread soup I made a few weeks ago)…and maybe it’s because I’m more confident making soup now than I was then, but I think it’s more because I know where to look for fabulous recipes. Ina, of course.
Kyle actually was the one who pointed out this recipe to me when we were watching The Barefoot Contessa a few months ago. I’m sure it popped out at him because it’s got kielbasa in it but that’s OK with me. I’d been looking to try another legume-based, high fiber soup so I ran out a bought some lentils. And then they sat in my pantry for 6 weeks until I overhauled the pantry at the New Year (my bi-yearly tradition). I had forgotten I bought them but was so happy to have remembered about this soup after I found them.
This soup will seriously rival any lentil soup you find at a restaurant. It’s thick, completely full of flavor (the seasonings are written perfectly as they are in the recipe – no tweaking was needed), and it didn’t at all taste like I was eating a mouthful of dry or mushy beans. The lentils were soft but still held onto a tiny bit of bite even after have been cooked for an hour. The addition of the kielbasa was pure genius – salty, flavorful, a soft textural difference with the rest of the soup – love it!! [If you’re not into kielbasa, I’m sure that you can add sliced pork or chicken sausage. Just be sure to pre-cook the sausage before you add it to the soup.] Kyle loved it so much that he requested all the leftovers for his lunches this week…which didn’t happen but I had to at least enjoy one more meal of the soup. I’m actually putting this on the menu again in a couple of weeks and am already getting excited about making it.
- If you’re an avid Ina fan like I am, you might notice that this recipe sounds an awful lot like the Lentil Vegetable Soup that can be found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 80. That’s because the only difference between the two recipes is the addition of the kielbasa.
- I halved the recipe without any issues and it still yielded close to 6 servings.
Lentil Sausage Soup
source: Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris, page 90
- 1 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
- 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
- 3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
- 3 quarts chicken stock or broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 pound kielbasa, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and sliced 1/3-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.