We had a cold front come through this week. I feel guilty using “cold front” to describe the last couple of days here in south Florida given the rough winter so many folks have had this year. Cold is relative…we broke out our knee-high boots and scarves for lows in the 40s.
We get so few days of cooler weather that I jump into action in the kitchen, making some of my most beloved winter dishes from when I lived in Kansas City and Chicago. Last night I made a lentil soup that is really too good. I brought it to work today and it went over so well I made another pot just now – I was afraid they wouldn’t let me back in the building without more!
The best thing about this soup (after eating it, of course) is how easy it is to make. It is also highly adaptable. you can substitute whatever veggies and protein you have in the fridge or cupboard. The only thing I really wouldn’t mess with is the lentils. They are so smooth and rich and creamy. To.Die.For. (as my friend Theresa might say).
Don’t let winter pass without making this one pot wonder!
1 lb green or brown lentils
2/3 lb diced chicken sausage (fully cooked)
2 cups chopped sweet onion
2 cups chopped celery (with leaves)
2 cups chopped carrots
3 minced garlic cloves
3 tbs olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 tbs fresh thyme
1/2 tbs liquid smoke
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
- Rinse and sort through lentils. I used to skip this step, until I lost a filling. Trust me (and my dentist), it’s worth the 3 minutes!
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot or dutch oven.
- Add onions, celery and carrots, salt and pepper and saute until softened.
- Add garlic and thyme sautee for 1 minute more.
- Add stock, water, and bay leaf, turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Add lentils, sausage, liquid smoke and balsamic and simmer covered for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- remove about a cup of lentils and puree in blender or food processor until smooth and add back to pot to thicken the soup.