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.

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.

 

Vegetable Broth

Making a batch of vegetable broth is a great way to use extra veggies before they go bad and capture in-season flavors for use throughout the winter. I always try to keep a few jars of it in the freezer as a base for lentil, chicken, or bean soups, which we eat all winter long.

Making a batch takes less than an hour of active prepping, cooking, and cleaning time, makes the house smell great, and tastes better than what you can buy in the store.

(If you are wondering about the difference between stock and broth, The Kitchn reports that the difference is seasoning. Broth includes seasoning, stock does not.)

Vegetable Broth

  1. Wash veggies.
  2. Fit them in a pot, breaking them in half if needed.
  3. Add seasonings. I recommend salt, pepper, bay leaves, and thyme.
  4. Cover with water and simmer for 90 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Let cool, strain, and store.

Use whatever veggies you want, would put in a soup, and need to use. I usually toss in carrots (tops included), celery (or celeriac), onion, garlic, and peppers, then add in whatever else I have on hand. This time that was fennel and rainbow chard. Sometimes I like to add mushrooms, tomatoes, turnips, parsnips, or leeks.

You don’t need to do much prep to the vegetables besides washing them. I don’t peel them or remove any tops. Just scrub the dirt off of them and toss them in a pot. Stir the pot occasionally and break up the larger vegetables as they cook down. If you included anything strong like fennel, take it out halfway through to keep it from overpowering the other flavors.

After the pot cools, strain your broth into containers and freeze them. I use Ball jars because I have dozens sitting around, but tupperware works just fine.

Simmered vegetable brothStraining vegetable brothVegetable broth in Ball jars for freezing

We like to use vegetable broth as a base for all kinds of soups throughout the fall and winter, but it is also nice to sip on if you have a cold.

What do you like to put in your broths? Let me know in the comments!