From what I understand, it's really cold in many parts of the country. I don't mean the Arctic cold Californians are claiming to be living in when it gets below 60. But for me, cold = soup. I'm quite sure I'm not the only one. Soup is this magical thing.. you just brown some things, put in liquid, simmer and eat. The flavor building happens very easily and then you don't have to do a lot, which is lovely for cold days when all you want to do is wrap up in a blanket. Stirring soup with a blanket wrapped around you.. now that is pure bliss.
Since there's a little thing called The Super Bowl tomorrow and football fans and non-football fans everywhere will be chowing down on lots and lots of chili, I thought I would offer this alternative. If you leave it pretty thick, it will take on a chili consistency and flavor. And what's great is this can be easily made vegetarian if you just leave out the sausage. I like sausage, so I added it, but it would have been great without. Plus... PLUS lentils are gluten-free (make sure to check your package.. some are not completely gluten-free because of the way they are packaged). Lentils are great for your heart and your digestive system and due to the fiber, complex carbohydrates and iron, will give you lots of energy to say "Go team go!" (You say that, right??)
Easy Lentil & Sausage (if you want it) Soup
adapted from the Smitten Kitchen & Alexandra's Kitchen
1 link sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
3 cups water, plus more if needed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 spring onion, minced (or half a small yellow onion)
1 large carrot, cut into half moons
1 cup tomato sauce (I used organic Muir Glen)
1 cup crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
1/2 cup French green lentils, heaping
1 tsp. dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
olive oil, kosher salt & pepper
1. Drizzle olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan (such as a Dutch oven) to cover the bottom. Heat to medium and add sausage. Break up the sausage into small pieces and let brown.
2. Once sausage is fully browned, add onions, carrots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let sweat with the sausage for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano.
3. Now add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, water and lentils. Add another pinch of salt and pepper. Let simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it gets too thick for your liking.
4. NOW, taste the soup. If you'd like the lentils more done, cook longer (adding more water if necessary) and add more salt and pepper if you feel it needs it. Enjoy!