Fill your Belly with the Taste For Winter - Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens | Vicki James
All the foodie magazines extol the virtues of legumes these days. They are a great source of fiber, minerals and vitamins. They are recommended for weight loss programs because they fill you up. And, of course, they are sustainable, so they help reduce the carbon footprint. So, what’s not to like? The taste, according to my husband. He also objects to the texture. He will eat black beans in chili, but no other kind. We had a big breakthrough a few years ago when he admitted he liked my split pea soup.
Lentils, however, are something he vowed he would never eat. Isn’t it fun when you can prove your husband wrong? It happened last weekend when I made this terrific soup.
I found the recipe on the NYT Cooking website. Check it out. You can subscribe for a small monthly fee and gain access to thousands of wonderful new recipes. Several of my favorite new recipes come from that site.
This soup is terrific. I read the ingredients and thought this one might have a chance of pleasing my picky guy. It involves a little prep work. Sorry, its not a slow cooker dump dish. But the prep does not take long and you will soon have this delectable concoction bubbling away, making your house smell wonderful for hours. It’s perfect for a fall or winter meal.
So here goes. Try it, you’ll like it!
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed. (Johnsonville brand offers a perfect 1 pound portion prepackaged with no casings.)
1 large chopped yellow or red onion (Make life easy. Buy prechopped)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 thyme sprigs, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 oregano sprigs, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
2 cups dried beluga lentils ( I could not find this variety and used a bag of brown, black and red lentils)
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
5 ounces greens, such as baby spinach or kale
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Chopped fresh basil for topping
Grated parmesan cheese, for topping
In a large dry skillet, brown the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks, about 8 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon. Put in slow cooker. Pour off excess fat. You will need about 1 tablespoon reserved for the next step.
In the fat produced by the sausage, brown the onions, season generously with salt, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium to avoid burning, if necessary. Add the onion and garlic powder, herbs, red pepper flakes and several generous grinds of pepper. Stir to combine. Add wine, stir and cook until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Note: if you use turkey sausage, you may need a little olive oil because it will not produce as much fat as a pork sausage.
Scrape the skillet mixture into the slow cooker with the sausage. Add bay leaf and lentils. Add the can of tomatoes and their juices. Pour in the chicken stock. Season with pepper and salt if using low sodium broth. Stir to combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low until lentils are tender, 6 to 8 hours. The soup can hold on warm for up to two hours, if necessary.
Switch the heat to high. Remove and discard the herb stems. Stir in the greens and cook until wilted, 2 to 10 minutes (Kale will take longer). Stir in the vinegar. Serve in bowls topped with chopped basil and grated parmesan.
This recipe makes 6 servings, so it’s good to know that it freezes well if you have a small family. The way my husband slurped it up, I wondered it we would have leftovers, but its so filling and hearty that he could not finish it off. He absolutely loved it, so now lentils are off the “verboten” list. I wonder what I can get away with next!
P.S. We served it with some delectable corn muffins left over from a restaurant meal the night before. I liked them so much, I think I’ll make a batch of corn muffins next time I make this soup!