Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lentil Soup with Bacon & Sausage

Can I just tell you that I made lentil soup, and it was wicked good? I was so excited because the last time I made lentil soup it was kind of blah.

I started with a recipe that I found in Everyday Food magazine. I planned to add sausage at Bob’s request. After I cooked the bacon I added three links of Italian sausage without the casings. This proved to be a great addition!
I began making the soup and I’m following the recipe to a T (okay, I subbed shallots for the onions; why? because that’s the way I roll) and the recipe calls for 1 ½ cups lentils. So what are you supposed to do with the other ½ cup that is left in the bag? I mean, I don’t know about you but I have nothing that calls for ½ cup lentils. So in they went. Of course, now I’d thrown off the balance of lentils to liquid. I added more chicken broth. And I think I might have thrown in a little extra water. Then I needed to re-season it with salt and pepper and add some more thyme.

In spite of all my tinkering, or maybe because of it, the soup turned out to be delicious! The sausage and bacon together worked really well. We happen to like our lentil soup on the thick side so that was good. If I had wanted it thinner, I’d have just added water or broth. In fact, when we reheated it the next day it did need to be thinned a bit. So we just added water. (Of course Bob added beer to his.)

And I have to tell you, I was a little weirded out about the red wine vinegar at the end. Definitely DO NOT skip it. It added kind of made the flavor just pop!

With all my tinkering, instead of the four servings that the recipe says you'll have, I'm pretty sure I ended up with enough soup to feed all of Gahanna. We sure did enjoy it, though.

I'll give you the recipes as found in Everyday Food without my modifications.

Lentil Soup
Everyday Food Magazine
Serves 4
• 3 strips (3 ounces) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

• 1 large onion, chopped
• 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (3 1/2 cups)
• 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1.   In a Dutch oven (or other 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.
2.   Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 1 minute.
3.   Add lentils, thyme, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
4.   Stir in vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve immediately.

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