Tag Archives: carrots

Lentil Sausage Soup


This lentil soup is pure comfort food. Simple but hearty flavors, our dear Barefoot Contessa has hit the nail on the head again. She’s one of those cookbook writers I can count on to deliver with each recipe–I’ve made dozens of her dishes, with only one flop that I can recall (the weeknight bolognese, for those curious).

From her cookbook Barefoot in Paris, this soup has lots of fresh veggies–onion, leeks, celery, carrots–a hearty stock, and tasty chunks of kielbasa sausage. Basically, this soup just can’t go wrong. As long as you’re willing to do some choppity-chopping for about 10 or 15 minutes, the rest of the soup makes itself.

Well . . . kind of.

Anyway, it’s a great dish for a crowd, so break out your stock pot and your sharpest knife and enjoy!

And at this point, it’s time to insert random pictures of my adorable toddler.


She’ll be two at the end of October, and right now, lifting things is her life.

DSC_0023 DSC_0024

Popcorn is also her life.


She calls is “pakazzah.”

We dress up in bibs together.


Enjoy the soup, my friends!


(Serves 8)

1 pound French green lentils
¼ cup olive oil
3 large onions, diced
2 leeks, white and light green parts finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
8 stalks celery, diced
5-6 carrots, diced
3 quarts chicken stock
¼ cup tomato paste
1 ½ lbs kielbasa sausage, cut in half-moons
1 TBS red wine vinegar
Sprinkling of Parmesan

  1. Put the lentils in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit for 15 minutes, then drain.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a huge pot (like a stock pot) and add the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and cumin. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the celery and carrots, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock, and add the tomato paste and lentils. Bring it to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered, until the lentils are tender.
  6. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Add the sausage and vinegar. When the sausage is hot, it’s ready to go!
  8. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a little Parmesan, and with a loaf of crusty French bread.


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Ham and Bean Soup


My pantry is finally getting the attention it needs. There have been various dry goods kicking around in it that we brought from Delaware to our first apartment in Chicago (almost 5 years ago), and then a year and a half ago to our current apartment. My husband has been crying out (for years) for a purge–a cooking purge. I used a package of old soba noodles to make this amazing dish a while back, and I finally heeded his pleas regarding our stash of beans and lentils (hence this recipe as well as the next one).

The way I did it was this: I googled “great Northern beans.” And the internet told me what to make.

The internet was spot on. This is a recipe I modified from the original on Allrecipes, and after making it about a month ago for the first time, I have made it two more times–a big deal for one who is constantly drawn to new creations rather than old favorites.

It may seem intimidating to those of you who (like me) have never personally dealt with a ham hock. I mean . . . they look kinda funky. Knobbly and layered with a thick piece of . . . well, I think it’s pig skin. But you don’t have to get too close and clingy with the hock–you just toss it in some water and pretend you never nervously prodded at the solidly springy flesh part. Ugh.


Let me break it down for you: Sunday afternoon, when you get home from church (or your newspaper run, or your relaxing time sleeping in–whatever your cuppa tea is), you bang around in the cabinet and get our your big old pot. You toss in the ham hock and enough water to cover it. You turn the heat on low and . . . you walk away. You take a snooze. You watch another episode of Parenthood while your baby naps. You graze on some popcorn while gazing out the window with a blank stare. You wonder for twenty minutes if that pair of leggings really makes your butt look smaller . . . or maybe lager. Smaller. Larger. Smaller? Larger?? You know, Sunday stuff.


Around dinner time you add some beans to the boiling water and turn off the flame. Pop a cover on it and let the beans soak in their ham hock jacuzzi. At bedtime, you toss the whole pot in the fridge. And then, you have an almost-ready-to-go soup for a weeknight, like Monday or Tuesday, when you come home cranky and in need of a comforting hot bowl in your frost-bitten hands (it’s been a long, hard winter here in Chicago, folks).

On one hand, it may seem like this recipe is tons of trouble. But the long simmer of the ham hock is so worth it. I’ve made it all in 1 day, and I’ve made it over the course of 2 or 3 days–and lemme tell you, the 2-3 days really make a difference. The simplicity but depth of the soup, when given time to mature and blossom, will not disappoint even the finest gourmet.

So find yourself a lazy Sunday and let the strange-looking ham hock do its magic.



(Serves 6-8)

1 ham hock
8 + cups water
½ tsp salt
1 lb (2 cups) dry great Northern beans
3 bay leaves
4 carrots
1-2 stalks celery
1 onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp mustard powder
1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 thick ham steaks
½ tsp ground white pepper

  1. Put the ham hock in a large pot and add about 8 cups of water (enough to cover the hock). Bring to a boil, then simmer as long as possible—all afternoon! (this is a great Sunday project) Add water as needed so that the ham hock is always covered.
  2. Rinse the beans and discard any broken ones.
  3. Bring the pot of water to a boil and add the beans and salt. Turn off the heat, cover and let the beans soak for 1 hour.
  4. At this point, you can refrigerate the pot overnight, or continue cooking.
  5. Finely dice the carrots, celery and onion; add them to the soup along with the bay leaves, minced garlic, mustard powder and bouillon cubes.
  6. Bring it all to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add more water as needed.
  7. Remove the ham hock; save the meat on it and add it to the soup.
  8. Cube the ham steaks and add to the soup. Add the white pepper. Simmer for 30 more minutes.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10.  Serve hot, with or without biscuits! The leftovers, if the liquid is running low, are also great over rice.

This (the innards):


over rice = amazing. (Especially if you add a nice pat of butter)

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