Wow! It’s still frigid outside with a windchill of 33 below. The kids are home from school for a second day, and while we may send Daddy out to pick up a few things, we will be staying snug at home today.
Yesterday, the planned dinner for the day had been Mac-n-cheese. While tasty and comforting, it wasn’t at all what I was in the mood for. I went back and forth all morning on what was for dinner, but I had my mind wrapped around lentils, and that just wouldn’t go away. The other day Andy was joking with someone about lentil soup, and a craving started up almost instantly. I couldn’t shake it, so lentil soup it was. Only I was missing a few ingredients from my normal repertoire of lentil soups- namely, the lentils. I had a mere half cup of lentils, that was hardly going to be enough for a nice pot of soup. So I went to the pantry to see what I did have, and found red lentils, which would have been okay, and yellow split peas, which I don’t care for much. I decided to use the peas. I used half lentils, half split peas, and by the time the soup was done, the yellow split peas had all but dissolved into the soup while the brown lentils retained their texture. The soup was warm, hearty and exactly what the doctor ordered.
Chilly Day Lentil Soup1/2 cup brown lentils 1/2 cup yellow split peas 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced 2 carrots, peeled and diced 3 celery stalks, diced 3 cloves of garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon cumin 6 sprigs of thyme (or about 1/2 teaspoon dried) 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 6 cups chicken stock or broth 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed 4 drops Worcestershire Sauce 3 Tablespoons tomato paste 1 pound All-Natural smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Rinse the lentils and the split peas and put in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over them to cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, Heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the pepper, cumin, thyme, and paprika and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring a few times to toast the spices a bit.
Drain the peas and lentils and add to the pot. Add the stock, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Stir well to ensure the past is well combined. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the sausage and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Check for seasoning- I didn’t need to add any salt at all. Depending on your stock and sausage, you may need to add a pinch or two.
Serve soup hot with cornbread.
Makes about 8 servings.