September 22, 2011

Spicy Sausage, Two Ways: Part Two

As I discussed in Part One of this epic series on how I used a pound of ground sausage, this meal was part of an effort to eat our way through the rather large quantity of meat in our freezer after we combined kitchens.

For my second meal, I wanted to do something that would make an easy lunch.  Around the time I was contemplating what to do with the meat in the freezer, I found a recipe on Serious Eats for Lentil and Sausage Soup.  Since lentils are basically awesome in all forms, this seemed like a promising option.  Turns out I made a good call - the sausage and olive pasta was good, but this was the real winner.  This is officially my new favorite cold weather soup.  Again, I basically just followed the recipe, with these changes:

1. I used 1/2 lb sausage, and I did not form meatballs.  I just browned it in a ground state.
2. Added a clove of minced garlic.  Garlic is supposed to be healthy, but I just think most things taste better with garlic.
3. I added 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced - put this in when you add the lentils and broth. DO IT. This is half of the reason why I think the soup is so awesome.
4. Added 1/2 bag of baby spinach at the end and let it cook down, uncovered, for about 2 more minutes.

I had this for lunch with a big piece of toasted whole wheat and flax bread that smeared with a little butter and a lot of Dijon mustard. Fun discovery: warm, soft whole wheat bread with Dijon mustard kind of tastes like a hot pretzel with mustard!

Although clearly this recipe is not vegetarian, I hope some vegetarians out there have read this far, because I'm eager to see if this could be accomplished using Boca crumbles or TVP or something.  Ideally I will get around to trying this out, but if it doesn't happen and someone else does, please let me know how it goes!  I'm thinking that a basic soy ground sausage or beef would work, with some traditional spicy Italian sausage seasoning, like fennel and crushed red pepper.  This soup made me so ridiculously happy that I'd love for everyone to be able to enjoy it (and I'd like to be able to make a vegetarian version for myself as well).

Lentil, Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from Serious Eats

Makes 4 servings.

1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, ground (again, if necessary, remove from casings)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1/2 lb green lentils, soaked for about 1 hour and rinsed*
4 springs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and minced
1 quart vegetable broth (I used Better than Boullion Vegetable)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sausage and brown lightly, breaking it up as it cooks.

Add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil along with the garlic, onion and celery.  Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 3 more minutes.

Add the lentils, thyme, sweet potato and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender.  Add the spinach, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until all the spinach has wilted into the soup.


*Confession time: I have some trouble figuring out the difference between different types of lentils at the store.  This might partially be the result of my grocery store only having a limited selection of lentils. I *think* I used green lentils, but they just look kind of brown to me, and the package just said "lentils." So there you are.  Tasted great though.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds delicious - I want to try it too (with your modifications!). If you do try a vegetarian version, Morningstar Farms makes "sausage-style" veggie crumbles that it says can be used in place of italian sausage.