Of Food and Love recipes: chard dinner garlic lentil soup lentils sausage soups Swiss chard
by Mommy Hobbies
In my napsack stash
I’m convinced, more and more that the key to fooling everyone into thinking you’re a good cook is to find incredible recipes. *shhhh*
So, my secret is out. I’m not actually a good cook, I’m merely riding on the aprons of some fabulous chef.
Either way, I stumbled upon this recipe from one of my all time favorite recipe inventor bloggers — Smitten Kitchen. She is INCREDIBLE! I’m slightly embarrassed to post this because her blog does it so much better. Either way, I’m going to post it and give you my family’s feedback on this tasty winter soup.
Finding good recipes can be a bit of trail and error. But then, you start becoming familiar with different ingredients and how well they compliment a certain dish and you just *know* that the recipe will be a winner. Two of my fail safe combos are: sour cream, butter and sugar and whenever I see heavy whipping cream with pasta sauce I know dinner is going to be a taste bud raiser.
Now, when I first looked at the ingredients, I groaned with the thought of cooking lentils. For some reason, I have this misconception that they are SOOO hard to cook. They’re not. This soup was done in just over 40 minutes. So, if you’re nervous about the lentils, don’t be. The hardest part about this recipe is trying not to eat all the sausage before everything is finished!
There are a three things I learned after making this dish. One: I should have just put it all into the stock pot to begin with. Two: Three links of sausage would have been better because the sweet Italian sausage has such a soft taste. Three: Chop that chard! The recipe calls for the chard to be cut into strips, but I found that to be awkward and drippy, so next time I’m going to mince it…just about.
::Side note:: I bought one bundle of the chard and used the whole thing. It was the perfect amount. cost me .89 cents
My children LOVED this soup. They are used to greens in their food, so I wasn’t too surprised. But when both Cylas and Roma were making little contented munching sounds, I couldn’t help but smile. They both polished off their bowls without a complaint. I was very, VERY pleased with this dish and it will definitely have an encore appearance in the future.
And, please, for the love of Pete, don’t forget to drizzle the hot garlic oil over the top as well as the helping hand of Romano cheese.
I’m going to be freezing the leftovers, too. There were a lot. This serves 6.
Serve hot. Serve on cold days. Eat up!
Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic :: courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (I used half of this, preferring the sausage to not dominate the soup’s flavor)
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch fo salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water, more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side.)
When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.
To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.