February 9, 2013

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale

This soup was spot on - simple ingredients balanced just right. I did not make the garlic infused oil as included below, but I know it would be heavenly. Make some crusty bread to accompany this soup, and you've got the perfect winter meal.

So this photo shows you my new tupperware - canning jars! I don't know why I haven't thought of this before. You can use the standard canning lids, but I love these plastic lids you can purchase to fit canning jars. You can even write on the lids with a dry erase pen to label the contents, if needed.

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale
from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed or 1/2 c. bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
Kosher salt
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 water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on 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, first two garlic cloves, a pinch of 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, water (6 cups is, conveniently, 2 empty 28-ounce cans, so you can get any tomato pulp you missed), more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Add more water if the soup gets too thick.

When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.

To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

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