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Heavenly, Comforting and Healthy

I am a huge fan of the Barefoot Contessa and have all of her recipe books. There is something about her no-nonsense approach to cooking and baking that appeals to me, and I have yet to try one of her recipes that hasn't lived up to its claims. About two years ago, I saw her making this Lentil Sausage Soup on TV and almost licked the screen (which is strange, because I don't really like lentils) - and so began my love affair with this gorgeous recipe.

Last week, when it was my turn to host book club (and Steve was incapacitated with his broken foot), I needed something that was hearty enough for a main meal, could be made in advance and heated before the girls arrived, but also something that felt quite indulgent and delicious. This thick stew-like soup was exactly what we all needed, and Steve rallied an hour before dinner and made his famous Pretzel Rolls (Oh. My. Gosh).

This soup tastes even better the next day, drizzled with olive oil and lovingly sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. It is soul food, people - and even Kayla liked it! And I can't see why you couldn't add other veggies to the mix if you have them lying around.

Lentil Sausage Soup (Serves 8 to 10)

Lentil Sausage Souo.jpg


Ingredients

  • 500g French green lentils (I use Puy lentils from Pick n Pay)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium-diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots) 
  • 3 litres (12 cups) of Chicken Stock 
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste 
  • 500g kielbasa or chorizo, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar 
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving 


Method

  1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain. 
  2. In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. 
  3. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes. 
  4. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. 
  6. Check the seasonings. 
  7. Add the kielbasa (or chorizo) and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa (or chorizo) is hot. 
  8. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Source: Barefoot Contessa 

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