Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lentil and Sausage Soup

This isn't about perfect health, its about moderation and living healthier, or at least I tell myself so as I slice up a kielbasa into the stock to put the "sausage" in the title of the soup. Seriously, if you don't watch what you do in that Holiday period starting with Thanksgiving and ending with your New Years feast you'll have a hard time maintaining your weight. I don't advocated giving up the feasting on the Holidays, quite contrary I advocate celebrating them and then eat healthier and lower cal/fat/carbs on the days between each of the Holidays.

This soup makes it possible to celebrate the Holidays and not feel guilty for your feasting. Its full of good whole legumes and vegies with just enough sausage to add some protein to the soup.

I have learned the hard way that lentils need to soak prior to cooking if you don''t want a bowl of gravel in broth as the end result. Hardy little buggers that they are if you skip the soaking in boiling water part you will end up with exactly that. Not appetizing at all.

I took the Barefoot Contessa's TV lessons to heart regarding cleaning leeks. They add flavor and if not cleaned properly you will have sand in your soup. Cleaning is easy. Slice lengthwise then dice them. Put them all in a bowl of water and agitate gently. The leeks will float and the sand will fall to the bottom. Carefully scoop out the leeks and put into a colander to drain off the excess water before sauteing. Look at the water remaining in the bowl, it will be full of sandy bits.

Lentil and Sausage Soup
  • 12 oz lentils
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 1 c diced carrot
  • 1 T thyme
  • 1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 2 qrts chicken broth
  • 1 lb smoke sausage such as kielbasa
  • salt

Pour the lentils into the boiling water. Remove from heat and cover for 30 minutes.

Slice leek lengthwise. Cut each piece into 1/2 inch slices. Clean and drain well. Give onion a coarse dice. Heat olive oil over medium high heat and add leeks,onion, celery and carrot. Saute about 15-20 minutes until onion is translucent.

Add spices and broth. Drain lentils and add to soup. Simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Slice sausage into 1/4-1/2" thick slices. Add to soup and simmer additional 15 minutes. Test seasoning and add salt as needed. (I found that saltiness of broth and sausage vary greatly and its best to test salt after the sausage has cooked into the soup rather than try to add it at the beginning of the cooking process).

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