Cooking with Alison

Favourite Sausage, Kale, and Lentils Soup Recipe

In Soups and Salads on March 7, 2016 at am

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Gina DePalma is my all-time favourite pastry chef. Sadly, she passed away late last year. Her sugar cookies recipe is the absolute best I’ve ever had (see here). After discovering her sugar cookies recipe, I had the intention of trying more of her recipes. I didn’t follow through with that plan until now. Her sausage, chard and lentils soup recipe is easy to make, comforting, hearty, and our new favourite soup. This soup freezes well, so we always make large batches.

Sausage, Chard/Kale, and Lentils Soup Recipe

serves 6 to 8; adapted from Secrets of the Best Chefs by Gina DePalma (Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard, and Garlic)

Note that my recipe is 1.5 times the amount of the original recipe.

4 large links of uncooked sweet or hot Italian sausages, casings removed (Note: This soup does not use broth, so it is important to use good quality and good tasting sausages.)

6 cups of thinly sliced kale or swiss chard leaves (approximately 1 large bunch)

1 1/2 x 28-ounce cans of crushed or diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups brown lentils, rinsed well and drained

1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano cheese

olive oil or avocado oil

1 large onion, diced

3 large carrots, peeled and diced

3 celery stalks, diced (optional)

6 cloves garlic, finely sliced

3 bay leaves

9 cups water

pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot with enough oil to coat the bottom of it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until it is soft and translucent. Add the celery (if using), carrots, half of the garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if using). Cook until slightly softened, up to 5 minutes. Then add the lentils, tomatoes, water, and bay leaves. Cover the pot with its lid, raise the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. If the soup is too thick for your preference, add more water. (Personally, we prefer the soup on the thick and hearty side.) Add salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the cheese will add salt to the soup later. Remove the bay leaves.

Just prior to serving, bring the soup to a boil, add the kale or swiss chard, and cook just until the leaves are tender. This should take less than 5 minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat. After sitting in the soup for a while, the leaves will turn brown in colour. The texture will hold up fine, but if desired, you could add only the amount of leaves needed to a portion of the soup (in a separate pot) just prior to each meal. This will allow you to enjoy the leftovers with green-coloured leaves. While the leaves are cooking, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil or avocado oil with the remaining garlic in a small pot over medium heat until the garlic softens, sizzles, and just starts to lightly brown. (Note: Sometimes, I skip this step and just use all of the garlic when making the soup.)

To serve, divide the hot soup into bowls, drizzle over the garlic oil, and top with the grated cheese. Serve immediately. Alternatively, you could stir all of the cheese into the soup once the greens have finished cooking. This soup freezes well.

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