We’ve been having an unusual winter in Raleigh this year, with near record-breaking high temps as well as a couple of rounds of snow and ice that shut down school for several days each time (which is status quo for the South.) During last week’s snow I decided to make a big pot of soup (those who follow my blog know I love, love, love soup) and decided to try something hearty. After rummaging around the freezer, fridge and pantry, I came up with this savory and hearty soup, wonderfully satisfying after playing in the snow!
I loved the hot country sausage in this soup, which is a good thing because that is all I had on hand. I think that Italian sausage or kielbasa would work fine as well. I also like the lentils because they add a nice crunch to the soup (as do the carrots.) A great soup on a cold winter day!
- 1 pound hot country sausage (such as Neese’s or Bass Farm)
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ large onion, quartered
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of carrot slices
- 1 cup of sweet onion, diced
- 2-3 celery stalks, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (35 oz.) whole plum tomatoes
- 32 oz. chicken broth
- 1 bag (6 oz.) baby spinach, chopped small
- Sea salt to taste
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Hot sauce (optional)
Brown the sausage over medium heat until it is no longer pink, breaking it apart with your spoon.
Drain the sausage and crumble it into even pieces (I love my Pampered Chef Mix ‘N Chop tool for this step.)
Place the lentils, bay leaf, quartered onion and salt in a medium saucepan. Add enough water so the lentils are covered at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so — the lentils should still have some crunch to them. Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaf and onion.
In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the carrots, onion, celery and garlic until they start getting tender.
Break up the tomatoes by squishing them with your squeaky clean hands and add them plus their juices to the veggies.
Add the sausage and chicken broth, mixing well.
Next comes the spinach — doesn’t that look pretty and healthy!
Finally, add the lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. At this point I added some hot sauce as well.
Let simmer for 30 minutes or so.
Serve with garlic bread or a nice mixed green salad.
This soup refrigerates well, but you will probably need to add some water to it when reheated.
Eat, drink and be merry!
Follow Kel’s Café on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kelscafe