Lentil, Sausage, Potato, and Greens Soup

This is one of my favorite soups. As soon as the cold weather sets in, I make this at least twice a month.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage, casing removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 leeks, chopped. You can use a regular onion if you don’t have leeks.
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 medium potatoes (or 5/6 small, 2 large), diced
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over for rocks
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups chopped greens. I used tatsoi here, but often use kale or spinach.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Brown the sausage in a large pot. I prefer my enamel Dutch oven, but a stock pot works, too. Break it up as you brown it.
  2. Add in the onions and carrots. Let them sweat/get soft without burning. If you are adding other aromatics like parsnips or celery, now is the time to add those, too.
  3. Add in the potatoes and let them get a little soft, too.
  4. Add in the chicken broth. If you make strong homemade broth like I do, adding one quart of broth and one quart of water is okay, too.
  5. Add in the lentils and thyme and bring everything to a boil.
  6. Cover and turn the heat down to low.
  7. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add in the chopped greens.
  9. Simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Taste and add salt/pepper as needed. I usually add a healthy amount of both.

If at any point it looks like it is getting thicker than you like, add more water. If it is too soupy for you, cook it longer.

I regularly improvise on the ingredient list here. The only constants are sausage and lentils. Sometimes I leave out the potatoes. Sometimes I add parsley or parsnips or both. Sometimes celery or celeriac. Sometimes I use leeks instead of onions. Red lentils are my go-to, but I use whatever I have on-hand. Red, green, brown, yellow, black all work, but some types cook faster than others. Greens other than kale work, too. I use whatever I have on-hand: Spinach, bok choy, tatsoi, etc. In fact, in these photos I used tatsoi.

To spice it up, I love adding a teaspoon of harissa powder to my bowl. The coriander and red chili powder give it a great flavor.

Rabbit Stew from Heritage by Sean Brock

I first heard about Sean Brock five years ago when I first watched his season of Mind of a Chef. I admire his dedication to reviving heirloom ingredients and techniques, which is probably his defining characteristic as a chef and restaurateur. I still haven’t had a full meal at his flagship Husk in Charleston, only drinks and appetizers at the bar. I’ll get there soon!

I picked up Brock’s Heritage shortly after it came out and have only cooked a few things from it because I can’t reliably source most of the heirloom ingredients he uses in most of his recipes. The ones I can get ingredients for are wonderful, and I love flipping through this book to look at the gorgeous photos and read Brock’s commentary and farmer profiles between the sections.

When I discovered that I could get high quality local whole rabbits from Campbell Meats in Dobbs Ferry, I decided to make Brock’s Rabbit Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings when our dear friend Kat came to visit.

You should definitely plan to make this on weekend, not a Thursday night like I did. It isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time consuming for one person to make the stew: Boiling for an hour and a half, pulling and shredding the meat, making the roux, chopping and adding the veggies, then putting it all back together. Next time I’ll make the stew a day or two ahead of time and reheat it while we make the dumplings.

I put Kat to work helping make the dumplings. I’m a big fan of giving guests a job so they don’t feel like they have to just sit there and twiddle their thumbs. It also gives you more time to talk and catch up. You get help and they feel invested in the final outcome. Win/win.

This recipe alone warrants buying this book. It is fantastic. Perfect for a chilly evening and good friends. Everyone ate multiple helpings and Amanda and I both took it for lunch later in the week.

I’m glad I picked up this book again. While I can’t make most of the main dishes out of it, I certainly can make some of the sides, condiments, and pickles Husk uses to accent their main dishes. I also missed the drinks and bitters section the first time around, which I’m keen to dive in to. Did you know that the Queen Anne’s Lace flower is a wild carrot? By the time the flowers come out, the carrot is bitter enough to make a tincture with.

That is exactly why I’m doing this Cooking the Books challenge – Revisiting old things that I missed and getting more out of them. More to come soon.

Sickie Soup

Chuck’s note: This is a guest post by my wife, Amanda. She normally blogs at AmandaGrimmett.com, but today she is posting here! When I get sick, this is what she makes for me. It’ll have you back on your feet in no time.

I’m really lucky that Chuck likes to cook —and that he’s good at it—because I absolutely hate cooking. I much prefer the exactness of baking because I know what I’m going to get every single time. Sure, I could use a recipe to cook, but why bother? I’m married to #CookLikeChuck.

That said, Chuck isn’t infallible. On occasion, he does get sick and, because I love my husband more than I hate cooking, I whip out the one recipe I know by heart, the one recipe I know will turn out every single time: Sickie Soup.

  • Chop a medium-sized onion and 3 stalks of celery.
  • Place them in a pot with a little olive oil and 2 cloves of pressed garlic on medium-low heat.

  • Chop 3-4 carrots, 2-3 leeks, and 1 decently-sized potato.
  • Add them to the pot with 2 boxes of chicken stock, salt, and pepper.
  • Turn the heat up to medium.

I like to add these veggies first because they take the longest to cook.

 

  • Chop and add a small head of cabbage.
  • Add a large diced tomato, a handful of fresh green beans, and about a cup of corn.

Let everything simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the veggies are no longer crunchy. Stir occasionally.

If you’re like Chuck, add a squirt of hot sauce to clear out your sinuses.

 

Ham and Black Bean Soup

Now that it is winter, we eat soup every week. This ham and black bean soup is high on the rotation. It takes longer than some other soups to make, but it is delicious and filling. Perfect for the cold, windy weather.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cottage ham
  • 1 lb of dried beans, pre-soaked or boiled
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Put the whole cottage ham in your soup pot and put in enough water to cover. Simmer the ham for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the ham and set aside. Save the remaining liquid in the pot.
  3. Dice the onion, celery, green pepper, and carrots. In a separate skillet, add the oil and veggies, then sweat them.
  4. Add the black beans, spices and the ham liquid in the pot with the sweated veggies.
  5. Dice the ham you set aside earlier. Add it to the pot.
  6. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an hour. Add more water if it gets thicker than you prefer.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the soup with diced red onions, sour cream, or shredded cheese.

Vegetarian or vegan? – Leave the ham out, add more carrots and celery, and use vegetable stock for the liquid.