Sometimes, I think I should rename this blog, “Things I tried to feed my husband.” It’s a long list, and each item on it has been received with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Kil’t kale, for example, was immediately embraced and adapted to work with the metric crap-ton of chard I grew in our garden this summer. The white bean, ham and leek soup has been in regular rotation since the first time I made it, because it’s so easy, inexpensive, and hard not to like.
But a lot of other things I’ve made over the past few months since posting have utterly failed. I made a zucchini rice gratin from Smitten Kitchen that was delicious, but immediately rejected. I bought some amazing kielbasa at a farmer’s market only to realize that apparently the man I married has no Polish blood in his veins. None. (Who is this man?!)
All this is by way of halfway explaining why I haven’t been posting, because I have been assuming that if my husband doesn’t like something, you won’t, either. But you know what? I don’t think that’s true. Mostly because I fell in love with this soup, while he pretty much refused to eat it. Lentils, apparently, not being an acceptable source of protein.
I stumbled on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen when looking for a relatively hearty soup that would last us a few meals and lunches while also using up the last of this summer’s chard. There’s no stock needed, just diced tomatoes and water (though you could replace the water with stock if you wanted). The sausage makes it a meal, while the chard and lentils make you feel virtuous.
Contrary to Deb Perelman’s suggestion, I skipped the garlic oil. Mostly because garlic oil is not conducive to lunches or working in an office where you’ll need to speak with people for the rest of the day. But I did pile on plenty of Parmesan cheese, which totally made up for it.
Feel free to cut this recipe in half. I found that it made seven to eight servings, which was…a lot. But on the upside, it freezes beautifully.
Sausage, chard and lentil soup
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (link above)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (if using links, either dice or remove casings and break up in pan)
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced in half-moons
2 bunches of rainbow or Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated, leaves cut into ribbons and stems sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
5 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (in a large pot on medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until beginning to brown. Add onion, chard stems, carrots, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes and water, with salt and black pepper to taste.
Bring to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Add the chard and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the leaves are slightly wilted. Find and discard the bay leaves.
Serve with Parmesan cheese. Leftovers will last three days in the fridge or several months in the freezer.