The weather has started feeling a bit more autumnal where we live, there’s a wee chill in the air the last couple of days. The boy started school a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been taken back to that start of the school year feeling from when I was young. The last few summery days seem to have gone and in time honoured fashion the colder weather has turned my thoughts to making soup. I picked up some green lentils on a whim in Waitrose the other week and scanned the ‘net for some ideas. This is based on an Ina Garten recipe that appears all over the place. The original recipe suggests kielbasa sausage but by the time I got to the supermarket I had kabanos in my head so that’s what I bought.
- 200 g green lentils
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 leek, quartered and sliced
- 1-2 teaspoons garlic puree (or 2 or 3 crushed cloves – I used puree from a tube because I’m lazy)
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1600 ml chicken stock
- 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 180g packet kabanos chopped into 1/2cm slices
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you have no balsamic)
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Soak the lentils in boiling water for 15 minutes then drain and rinse till later. I chopped my vegetables while they were soaking.
In a big soup pot (I have a low pressure-pressure cooker I use for this sort of thing), fry the onions and leeks with the garlic, a few twists of fresh ground salt and pepper and the thyme in the olive oil for about ten minutes or until the onions are translucent. Chuck in the carrots and celery and cook for ten more minutes. Pour in the chicken stock (homemade would be good but I just used stock powder), the tin of tomatoes, the chopped kabanos* and the lentils. Simmer covered until the lentils are cooked. In the magical low pressure cooker it took about half an hour, it might be longer in a ‘normal’ pot. Add the vinegar and give it another five minutes or so.
Serve with grated Parmesan and crusty bread (we had sourdough with lashings of butter).
*most versions of this recipe suggest putting the sausage in once the lentils are cooked but I got a bit carried away and put them in with the lentils and the smokey flavor right through the soup was lovely.