I love soup, but I’m partial to thick, chunky soups that borderline on stew except my soups rarely have large chunks of meat. Lentil soups were never my favorite, but when I saw this recipe for Lentil Soup with Sausage and Cabbage I knew I had to make it. Luckily I also had a head of green cabbage waiting to be used in the fridge. As I finished cooking it occurred to me that this soup looked a lot like my grandmothers vegetable soup (a variety of vegetables in a broth with tomatoes, ground beef and cabbage). It was – and that is just fine because I loved my grandmother’s vegetable soup.
I did make some changes to the recipe. I halved the recipe, since a household of two doesn’t need 8 servings of untested soup. I skipped the stew-meat since it just struck me as an odd addition, and picked spicy italian sausage over mild italian sausage. While the lentil variety was not specified, and I suspect they meant the common brown/green lentil, I chose to use french green lentils. And finally I did not add the tomato and salt according the instructions (when adding the water and lentils) because I was worried about the salt or acid prolonging the cook-time for the lentils; Instead I added the tomato and salt once the lentils had softened, let the pot come back to a simmer and then added the cabbage.
Lentil Soup with Sausage and Cabbage from How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons
adapted slightly by me (ie this is half a recipe and missing stew meat)
- 1 T olive oil
- 1/2 lb italian sausage (I chose spicy italian sausage)
- 2 T red wine vinegar, plus more for the finished soup
- 1 chopped carrot
- 1 chopped celery rib
- 1/2 onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lb french green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 5 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 t salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 8 oz cabbage, cored and shredded (probably half a small cabbage)
In soup pot (I used my 4 qt pot) heat the oil and add the sausage. Cook until done, breaking it up as it browns. Once it is cooked (recipe says 15 minutes, I didn’t time it) pour the red wine vinegar into the pan to deglaze it, stirring vigorously to loosen the stuck bits. Once the vinegar has evaporated remove the pot from the heat, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a strainer (or plate with paper towels). Spoon out some of the remaining fat from the pot – you want to have about 1 tablespoon left in the pot. Put the pot back on the burner and turn to medium. Add the carrot, celery, and onion to pot and saute until soft, around 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and stir until fragrant, maybe a minute. At this point you add the lentils, water and bay leaf and bring it to boil, then turn down to simmer. Let everything simmer for about 45 minutes, then test lentils to make sure they are tender. Now add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring it back to a simmer. Add the shredded cabbage, and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Add a drizzle of red wine vinegar (maybe a tablespoon or so) and taste to adjust seasonings if needed.
8/3: What did we eat? I simply don’t remember, but I suspect it wasn’t at home since I have no pictures of food from that day
8/4: Quiche with that chard, yup that chard that amazingly made it in my fridge for way longer than I expected. I jazzed it up with the remaining feta and some oil-packed sun dried tomatoes – they might no longer be “in” with the foodie crowd but they sure can give a bit oomph to an otherwise drab dish and I consider them a posh pantry staple
8/4: Crazily, despite being a Tuesday (share night) and cooking one dish that could have been dinner, but was intended for lunches I had to go and make an indian “feast” (I joke about feast because I generally make one-pot type dinners and this required 1 pot, 2 pans and a few bowls). If there had been anyway that I could have just had us eat quiche for dinner I would have, but I’d had ingredients for these two dishes sitting in my fridge for over a week and kept putting off cooking them due to the horrible heat. That cauliflower wasn’t going to last forever, neither was the cabbage, and I’d already re-bought the potatoes once (after using the first round for the yummy green bean and potato salads that I made). Anyway. I cooked up a storm that Tuesday night and had the dishes to prove in on Wednesday morning (also, we ate after 10 pm – oops). Smitten Kitchen’s Red Lentils with Cabbage
(love, so making this again, but my version came out much soupier than her version), Aloo Gobi
supposedly from Bend it Like Beckham; every transcription I’ve seen of this recipe seems to leave something out, whether a measurement or ingredient on the list, I think I looked at about half a dozen aloo gobi recipes before settling on following this one – but it turned out nicely in the end other than needing a longer cooking time that stated) and raita from The Moosewood Cookbook. And of course garlic naan from TJs (basically I bribe TheHusband into eating indian spiced dishes by providing garlic naan).
8/6: Camping! and eating the leftover crustless quiche, heated up by wrapping it in foil and leaving it on the grate over the campfire. A nice crusty bread would have rounded out the meal nicely, but no such luck.
8/7: Camping! And eating delicious grilled sausages (don’t have ketchup? order some onion rings at a fast food place on the drive to the camp site), and super pretty veggie hobo packets. Seriously, I should start looking for purple potatoes whenever camping is in plans. These hobo packets are made like so
, this time with red bell pepper, carrots, yellow squash (CSA!), potatoes and a couple garlic cloves per packet. We are still figuring out campfire cooking and that sweet heat spot that allows for some char while not blackening one side of the food and leaving the other side raw – this night we settled for nicely steamed packets – no char but everything is cooked through. Some campmates shared their baked beans, heated oh so classically in the can over the fire. Sometimes I like to go all out coming up with new camping meals, other times it is nice to be able to fall back on the standards.
And recapping this week made me exhausted from thinking of that Tuesday cooking marathon.
I had a bunch of chard sitting in the fridge, and I had plans on making it with garbonzo beans but couldn’t decide between three recipes. To my surprise TheHusband picked this Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbonzo Beans from Epicurious. I had to run out for red lentils and plain yogurt so I went ahead and got some garlic naan to go with it. After reading the reviews I decided to adjust the amount of red lentils to better match the 1:3 lentil to water ratio recommended elsewhere for the lentils. As I often do, I added the chard stems to the recipe instead of tossing them. And finally I used a mix of sweet and hot curry powder and the heat came out just right IMO. I look forward to making this dinner again.
Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbonzo Beans adapted from Epicurious (originally published in Bon Appetit December 2005)
- 2 T oil
- 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 t sweet curry powder
- 2 1/2 t hot curry powder
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 5 c vegetable broth
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stems separated from leaves
- 1 2/3 c red lentils
- 1 can garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed.
- small container of plain yogurt
Start by prepping the chard. Chop the stems into small pieces and coarsely chop the leaves. Heat the oil in a large pan (I used my 6 qt pan) and add the onion and chard, saute for about 10-15 minutes until soft and golden. Add the curry powders and cayenne. Add one cup of broth to sort of deglaze the pan, then add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Add the chard, lentils and garbonzos. Reduce heat and cover. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir. If the lentils are falling apart it is time to serve, otherwise simmer for a little longer. Top with plain yogurt.