It's that time of year when half the country is still under a blanket of snow and the other half is beginning to feel the first touches of spring on the wind.
Whatever the season, soup is always a welcome meal in our house. Seriously, we enjoy soup for dinner at least once a week year round. A grounding & nourishing meal; It can be hearty and warming, cleansing and light.
We have a couple go-tos that we double up and then freeze (in quart containers) for a quick weeknight meal. We're also not opposed to dressing soup up a bit for a weekend get together with friends. Good bread, a sprinkle of aged cheese, bright pesto and spicy finishing salt are all welcomed.
So when our friend Dannie Wit of Abeille Photography joined us for a leisurely afternoon we decided to pull out all the stops. It was so fun to set the intention that this was an occasion, not just a meal! We broke out the linens and candle light and then felt our demeanor synchronize. We were present to the moment and each other and even honed in on some table manners. Food is my thing, but how a meal can bring people together and nourish relationships is truly magic.
The lentil soup we enjoyed with Dannie is the perfect comfort food. The flavors are complex yet humble and can easily stand alongside vinegary salad greens or a grilled cheese sandwich.
Lentil Soup with Sausage, Adapted from Ina Garten
1 pound du Puy French green lentils
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB kosher salt
1 tea black pepper
2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
1 TB thyme fresh or dried
1 TB ground cumin
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 quarts chicken stock
1 pound kielbasa, cut in half lengthwise & then sliced
2 TB red wine or red wine vinegar
In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and saute the onions with half the salt and pepper, until translucent. Add the garlic, carrots and celery and saute with the thyme and cumin for 10 minutes. Add the drained lentils and tomato paste, stirring to coat. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially covered, for up to an hour or until lentils are tender. Check your seasoning and add remainder of salt if necessary, add kielbasa and red wine. Simmer until Kielbasa is heated through then serve with your favorite garnishes. Enjoy!
We're omnivores in our house but many of our friends are not. This Lentil Soup recipe can be easily adapted for all diets. Dairy intolerant? Skip the cheese garnish. Vegetarian? Substitute the chicken stock for veg stock. You can easily omit the sausage all together or choose a meat-free sausage such as Field Roast.