This is one of my favorite soups. As soon as the cold weather sets in, I make this at least twice a month.
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.
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.
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.
Add in the potatoes and let them get a little soft, too.
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.
Add in the lentils and thyme and bring everything to a boil.
Cover and turn the heat down to low.
Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the chopped greens.
Simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
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.
This week’s selection for Cooking the Books is The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. It is one of my favorite cookbooks and I use it all the time. Alice’s simple preparations let the ingredients shine through. I’ve given this book out as a gift at least five times and I fully expect to give it out again. I want everyone to know about this book.
Braised Duck Legs with Leeks and Green Olives
Carrot Puree with Caraway and Cumin
Why I chose these
I did not have a hard time picking something new from this book because we want to try pretty much everything; the question was whether or not we had the right ingredients since so much of it is seasonal.
I picked the duck because I’ve never actually prepared duck at home and was eager to try it. Everything I needed for it is either easy to get or I already had on-hand.
Once I picked the duck, I picked four side dishes I thought would be good and had Amanda settle on the final one. We had a lot of carrots and cilantro on-hand, so it worked out well.
The meal was fantastic! The skin on the duck legs was crispy, the meat was tender, the olives stayed firm, and all of the flavors complemented each other well. The lemon zest and the brininess of the olives cut the fat from the duck. The caraway + cumin was a great combination with the carrots. Definitely a dinner for a cold winter evening and a glass of wine.
The carrots probably would have been a little better had I used the food processor to puree them instead of just mashing them by hand. The recipe took quite a while to cook, so it is a good fit for a weekend. Other than that, I’d definitely make this meal again! I have four more duck gets in the freezer, so I’m contemplating it 🤔.
If you want to join us in the Cooking the Books challenge, send your posts to firstname.lastname@example.org! I’ll guest post them here on Cook Like Chuck. Here are some guidelines:
Send me a decent photo of the book to use as the featured image
Send me photos of the meal you cooked
Write a little bit about the book, why you chose it, and how the meal turned out
Send me a photo of the recipe
Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.