I’m not going to lie to you, lentils. I have not loved you long time.
Lentils are one of those foods my mom used to try and force on me when I was young. Why did I make like my mouth was wired shut every time she offered these up? Out of spite, obviously. She was an adult – and I – a child. She could not be trusted with major decision making when it came to what I ate. She was already in charge of my wardrobe and hairstyle, neither of which were working out so hot.
All right, mom. I’ll admit I was wrong about this one. Lentils are legit.
Oh. You were right about medjool dates too. Although I don’t 100% agree with your stance on them tasting “just like candy,” I give it to ya. They’re good.
My mother is the reason I’m posting this today. She’s been wanting this Lentil Soup recipe for some time now. Like, a year. Time flies when you’re keeping kitchen secrets.
I guess this is a good test to see if she’s been keeping up with this little blog o’ mine. Let’s see how long it takes her to realize this is up, shall we?
Should she happen across this post, she’ll be mortified by how banged up my dutch oven is.
Did that last sentence sound dirty to anyone else or just me? I got a gutter mind.
Anyway, she got me that well loved kitchen tool you see in the picture above and those battle scars are proof of how often I put it to use. The thing’s a workhorse, but it’s enamel gave up somewhere along the way. Oh well.
This Lentil Soup has got a lot goin’ on. Like, hot Italian turkey sausage, onion, celery, carrots and garlic.
So far, so good.
Did I drag your minds into my gutter with that bit about hot Italian sausage? Simmer down now.
Speaking of simmering, after the sausage has browned and your veggies have softened slightly, you’re going to add even more awesome and let this business bubble away on the stove.
If you’re not ready for your house to smell amazing, walk away from this recipe now.
Here, we have the star of the show: lentils. Add a cup to your pot and put the rest away. Worried about how to use the rest? How ’bout another batch of this soup? It’s bound to happen.
Next up are some big bay leaves for flavor. Just be sure to pick ’em out of the pot before you serve up your soup! Eric always happens to get the unexpected extras. Bay leaves, eggshells, strands of brown hair that are way too long to be his…you name it, he’s almost eaten it.
Oops and I’m sorry.
Okay, just a few more ingredients and we’re well on our way to having a big bowl of hearty, satisfying soup. In goes a giant can of crushed tomatoes, six cups of chicken broth and a little bit of black pepper.
Or a lot of pepper, if you prefer.
I’m not the pepper police.
Last but never least – until the next trendy super food moves in and stomps all over it – is some kale. I slice mine into thin ribbons before shakin’ it up in a salad spinner and adding it into the pot. Sure, you could use spinach or chard, but I really like the way kale holds up even after being cooked a while. To me, kale is the perfect green to complete this soup.
You hear that, kale? You…complete…me. Jerry Maguire style.
Each spoonful of this soup is like a flavor explosion. Which reminds me…has anyone else been thoroughly enjoying the hot mess that is Real World Explosion?
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
6 large links of sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned kale
Parmesan cheese to finish
Heat enough olive oil to coat bottom of a large pot – and warm over medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, a pinch fo salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, broth, more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side.)When the lentils are cooked, add the kale and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.To finish, divide soup among bowls and top with parmesan, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.
My name is Brie and I’m at an awkward age where I’m too old to be watching the Real World and yet too young to eat and enjoy Lentil Soup as often as I do.
Or am I at the best age ever since I seem to get away with doing both?!