Tag Archives: leeks

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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Erica's Bacon Potato Leek Soup

So I’m assembling and editing pictures from Saturday’s Regency Ball in order to put together a post for you guys. A few things you should know: I did not turn into a pumpkin. Our dresses were beautiful. Our husbands get an A + for coming with us and learning all those period dances. That evening we arrived back in Chicago pretty exhausted; those Regency dances may look calm and elegant, but lemme tell you–I worked up quite a sweat. So until the time that I can spit out the full report of our doings, I bring you: more food.

During that roadtrip to Kentucky two weekends ago to visit my sister Erica, she whipped up a lovely dinner for us in an attempt to recreate a soup she had experienced at a restaurant. Whereas I tend to get my inspiration from specific recipes, she is the queen of throwing things together and creating something marvelous from scratch. What magic lies in the recesses of her little brain? And how can I get some of that magic?

I don’t have answers yet, but I plan on absorbing whatever I can through faithful readings of her recently inaugurated blog. Maybe she will reveal her secrets, who knows.

So anyway: being the blonde tornado of wonder that she is in the kitchen, I just knew I had to record and photograph whatever she was concocting for posterity.

You can thank me after you make this simple, comforting soup. And if you’re thinking “Soup?? But it’s springtime! Salad time! Pasta Primavera time!” thing again. Here in Chicago we’re back down in the 30s, and soup season ain’t over yet.


(Serves 5)

6 rashers bacon

1 large onion, roughly chopped

5 large red potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 leeks, chopped (use the whole leek)

¼ cup light soy sauce

½ tsp ground coriander

6-8 cups water

3-4 cubes beef bouillon

Salt, to taste

½ tsp black pepper (or more, to taste)

Pinch of nutmeg

Half and half or heavy cream, to serve (optional)

Take hold of yon rashers of bacon.

Fry up the bacon in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.

Erica has a handy little bacon press that helps things cook quite uniformly.

Once it’s browned and crispy, remove the bacon and chop it up.

Important note: please fend off any cats that may gather during this time for bacon hand-outs.

While the bacon is frying, you can give a rough chop to the onion:

Peel and roughly chop the potatoes:

Check out Erica’s gorgeous rock. Uh huh.

And chop up those leeks too. Make sure to give them a good all-’round washing, because dirt gets stuck in between the layers, and you don’t want any suspicious crunching happening during the consumption of this soup.

Don’t be afraid of using the dark green parts–they are quite delicious. And I’m sure they’re also good for you in some way.

Remove all but 1 TBS bacon grease from the pot. Over medium high heat, fry the chopped onion for about 5 minutes, until it’s starting to get brown.

Grab the soy sauce and coriander:

Add it to the onions, and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the potato cubes . . .

. . . and the leeks and bacon too.

The bacon adds great flavor to the soup, but it will become limp after simmering for half an hour, so if you want some crunchy bacon on top, set a couple pieces aside and use them for garnishing the soup once you serve it.

Now: pour in enough water to almost cover everything. It’s okay if a couple leeks are peeking out.

This could be anywhere from 6-8 cups of liquid depending on the size of your pot. Give it a stir:

Add in the cubes of beef bouillon and the 1/2 tsp of black pepper, then cover the soup, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender but not mushy or falling apart.

After those 30 minutes, taste! We needed loads more black pepper on our end.

Use a generous hand with that black pepper–we’re looking for a little punch.

Okay, not the most beautiful soup in creation, I’ll give you that. But back to the flavor: add a pinch of nutmeg to the soup, and taste again for seasoning. If you need more depth, add some more beef bouillon and soy sauce.

Time to serve! You have a choice: you can serve it as is . . .

. . . or with a little half and half or heavy cream stirred in.

I’ll let you guess which way I chose to eat mine.

Cream all the way, baby.

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