Lentil and Sausage Soup for a (warm) winter’s night

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Although its starting to feel too much like spring here- I there’s nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of soup for dinner, even if it doesn’t look anything like winter out your door. This is more of a stew than soup, but it has a lot of fresh veggies and fresh spinach which gives it vibrant color and delicious flavor! I modified this recipe and used vegetarian sausage from Whole Foods instead of meat sausage and vegetable stock to make the stew vegetarian. photo-231The sausage was so tasty you’d never know it was vegetarian- I bought the Italian style with garlic and red pepper to give it a kick! Any sausage you use will taste great. I also added twice the amount of spinach as I am a huge fan of spinach and I wanted more green in my soup. The red wine vinegar really opens up all the flavors so don’t leave it out- its a must! Enjoy!!

Lentil & Sausage Soup (Click for printer friendly version)
Serves 4 hungry adults with lots of leftovers.
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup French green lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 or 4 sausages made with herbs and/or garlic
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup sturdy red wine
  • 3 stalks of celery, and their leaves if possible
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram or an equivalent amount of fresh
  • 4 or 5 carrots, depending on their size
  • 4 cups chicken or beef stock (or vegetable)
  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (I did 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill at tea kettle and bring it to a boil while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Heat the 4 cups of stock either on the stove or in the microwave if you don’t have time (or space) on the stove.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large pot/skillet with one bay leaf and cook sausage until browned on each side (even if the sausage is already fully cooked) remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Rinse the lentils in cold water two or three times, pick out any stones or other debris, and put the lentils on the stove in a saucepan with at least three cups of hot water from the kettle. Cook lentils over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (don’t worry if the lentils are not fully cooked when you add them to the soup.)
  5. Meanwhile, dice the onions so they are about ½” square; chop the garlic. Cut celery into small dices and carrots into slices or chunks depending on how thick they are, and set them aside. Add the remaining oil, as well as the onions and garlic, to the pan in which the sausages were browned; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions start to look a bit translucent, push them aside with a spoon and add the wine. Cook for a minute or two to deglaze the pot.
  6. Stir the lentils in with the cooking water. It doesn’t matter whether they are cooked. Just add them now, and add the stock to the pot with the onions and garlic. Add the celery and marjoram and stir well, continuing to cook.
  7. Add the carrots to the pot, with the reserved sausages, and the salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.
  8. Cook for at least another ten minutes, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally, to prevent the lentils from sticking.
  9. Add the ketchup and stir well (I didn’t measure the ketchup I just added enough till it looked good- but I am also weirdly obsessed with ketchup). Cook until the carrots are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add the spinach and the parsley. Heat soup until very hot!
  10. Pass the red wine vinegar separately, for people to add, to taste. Serve with a hearty whole grain bread and fresh butter.IMG_6965

Original recipe from Food52

Fall Favorites – Stew in a Pumpkin and Baked Cayenne Pepper Pumpkin Seeds

Fall Favorites – Stew in a Pumpkin and Baked Cayenne Pepper Pumpkin Seeds

For my first blog post- I wanted to start out with one of my favorite fall recipes. I always loved when my mom made this stew because you serve it IN the pumpkin. I loved watching her scoop hearty spoonfuls of yummy stew right from the pumpkin on the table (Martha Stewart is kicking herself she didn’t invent this multifaceted meal… table decor and entree in one!) … plus you get chunks of pumpkin when you serve it! Baked pumpkin seeds are also another fall time favorite of mine. This spicy take on classic baked pumpkin seeds will have you eating the whole batch before the stew is ready (yes, I did eat them all with a little help from Jake). Although its fun to enjoy this stew out of the pumpkin- it’s not necessary to cook in the pumpkin if you want to make it once they are out of season. From my high altitude kitchen (or PomPom’s kitchen, really) to yours- Enjoy!

Stew In A Pumpkin 
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
One 8-10lb small pumpkin cut and cleaned. Rub with 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar and dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Ingredients:
3 Tbls Vegetable oil
2 lbs Stew Meat
1 Onion Chopped
1 Clove Garlic
2 Cups Beef Stock
1 1/2 Cups Italian Tomatoes (Drained)
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Grated Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Yams, peeled and cubed
2 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Ears of Corn cut off the cob
1 Large Zucchini, sliced
1 Can Apricot halves
1 Cup Frozen Peas

While the pumpkin is cooking, heat vegetable oil in skillet and sear meat, browning on all sides. Remove meat and add the onion and garlic to skillet- Saute for 2 minutes just to soften.

Add stock, cooked meat, tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, dried oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper to onion and garlic saute. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add yams, potatoes and corn, cover and cook another 10-15 minutes. Add zucchini, apricots and peas and cook another 5 minutes. Ladle stew into the pumpkin, replace lid and bake on cookie sheet for another 30 minutes or until pumpkin flesh is soft. If all the stew does not fit in the pumpkin, leave in the pot and simmer till ready to serve!

While the Stew is cooking on the stove..

Cayenne Pepper Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds from cleaned pumpkin
2 Tbls Olive Oil
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
2 tsp Salt (may need more depending on how many seeds you have)
1 tsp Pepper

In a large bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper to your taste depending on how spicy you want them (I used 2 tsp).
Place on a baking sheet covered in tinfoil and bake for 25 min at 375 degrees, mixing and tossing often with a wooden spoon.

Seeds are finished when crispy and brown (don’t let them stick and burn on the bottom!)