Test Kitchen: Chicken Soup on a Rainy, Fall Day

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My chicken lentil soup – sorry I’m not a food photographer. (Yet)

My cooking style is a complex mixture of Type “A”/ follow the recipe to the letter with…”Oh Crap! I don’t have/like that ingredient so hopefully this other one will work out okay”. This is much akin to my grocery-shopping style which is a blend of purchases such as the cereal, Spaghettios, and Doritos that I most often eat with things like a bag of lentils, which I think I probably should eat (being that it actually requires cooking). And two months later when my last bag of Doritos is nothing but orange dust on my fingers, I look in the cupboard and find the lentils…and thus a masterpiece is born!

The base of this recipe relied upon one that I found right on the bag (Safeway brand lentils). It was supposed to be a “Lentil Stew with Sausage” by cookbook author Marlene Sorosky Gray. Here’s a link to the latest book I could find by Marlene, circa 1994. However, I’m not a big fan of sausage- and I was missing things like dried sage and fresh kale/spinach- so I departed ways with Ms. Sorosky at that point.

Needless to say, it’s a rainy, fall day in my neck of the woods and this chicken, lentil version seemed like the perfect afternoon meal. Thankfully it actually is edible. (No, I hadn’t tasted it after it was finished. Turns out there were some Doritos left in the house after all!) Posted below is the recipe, with my substitutions noted. It makes a big pot…really hope the hubby likes this, otherwise yours truly will be noshing on it for quiet some time. That’ll learn me to buy lentils on a whim! Salud!

Recipe: Lentil Stew with Sausage (or Chicken)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 onions, chopped (about two cups) – I used yellow, and only about 1 and a quarter and that seemed like more than enough!

3 cloves garlic, minced – I used pre-minced from a jar. Yep.

4 carrots, coarsely chopped or sliced (about 1/1/2 cups) – Baby carrots to the rescue!

1 lb. smoked beef sausage, sliced – Substituted with 1.75lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped.

1 lb. lentils, rinsed and drained

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth – Mixed 2 boxes of chicken stock, 1 can of vegetable broth, plus some water.

1 tsp. dried sage – Substituted with the same amount of dried parsley

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. salt or to taste – Used some black lava sea salt (Another impulse purchase!)

1 lb. fresh kale or spinach, stems trimmed, leaves chopped (about 8 cups) – Substituted with a package of frozen, chopped spinach.

Directions: In a 6 to 8-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onions, garlic, and carrots until soft, about 10 minutes. Add sausage, lentils, broth, sage, thyme, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are barely tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in kale or spinach. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Ladle into soup bowls. Makes 8 servings. (Umm, possibly more, based on what I ended up with.)

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