Sunday, January 9, 2011
Lentil soup with beef sausage: the perfect comfort food on a cold, wintry night.
Esteemed Readers who know me know my love for the humble Lentil.
There are few dishes more satisfying on a cold winter night - especially a night marked by freezing precipitation - that a hot bowl of lentil soup.
It’s not a complicated affair, really. A pound or two of smoked beef sausage, browned off in a heavy Dutch oven and set aside. A few carrots, a yellow onion, a parsnip, and a celery stalk, hacked up into appropriately small chunks and sweated down together in that selfsame Dutch oven with a few minced garlic cloves and a splash of olive oil. Add a bit of fresh thyme, a bay leaf, a few quarts of stock, and a pound of French green lentils.
What, you don’t have French green lentils, the veritabobble Lentilles Vertes du Puy? Use another kind of lentils. Hell, use split peas if you wanna. It’s all good. Just be sure to pick through ’em to make sure there are no foreign objects in amongst them little bitty legumaceous bits, and rinse ’em in two or three changes of water before dumping ’em into the pot.
Simmer for about ninety minutes, then throw that beef sausage back in. Add a goodly quarter-cup of fino sherry - the really dry stuff - fish out the bay leaves, and serve it up.
At various times, we’ve made this soup with chicken stock, beef stock, or even just plain water. This time I used a richly flavored chicken and goose stock I had made a couple of days ago, and the results were eminently satisfying.
Let the snow and sleet blow; let the winds howl! We are cocooned in our warm, cozy home, and we have lentil soup!