Christmas Season & You still Must Eat


“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.”
Mary Ellen Chase (1887-1973)

This time of year is a busy time for everyone which means little time for planning and making weeknight dinners so I always love a new cookbook and great new recipes to explore.  With that said I picked up a new cookbook from Food 52, A New Way to Dinner from Amanda and Merrill and I’m excited to plan, cook and report on recipes from the book, but until then a pot luck bowl of lentil soup for a cold dreary day.

Taking notes from a Jacques Pepin recipe and fridge diving for common or not so common ingredients for this nights version, slightly adapted…I didn’t add barley, but did add a bit of fresh fennel and some homemade sausage.   Sauté the sausage before adding to the soup pot or another trick that I have for a smoked ham shank is to simmer it in just the soup broth for 10-15 minutes to flavor the broth.  Link to Jacques original recipe below.

EVOO – 2 tablespoons
2 sprig thyme
a few sprigs of parsley, chopped
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
salt & pepper to taste
1 leek, cleaned quartered and rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 small onion, diced
3 ribs celery, peeled, quartered and small dice
1 carrot, peeled, quartered and small diced
1/2 fennel  bulb, quartered and diced
1 leek, cleaned, quartered and sliced
2 cloves of minced garlic.
1-28 0unce can of Italian San Marzano tomatoes, diced or hand squished
1 pound assorted lentils (I used red and green) both cooked for 20-25 minutes, different lentils have different cooking times so keep that in mind
24-32 ounces chicken bone broth and vegetable broth concentrate/1 pod
3/4 pounds Italian sausage, crumbled or sliced if the using sausage links
*optional:  bacon, merguez sausage  or smoked ham shank
I love lentil soup with a dash of vinegar and a dollop of sour cream

Have all of your vegetables prepped and ready to go and sauté in EVOO (add the garlic last and just before adding the tomatoes and broth, sauté veggies until softened.  Add all of the herbs, the canned tomatoes, broth and broth concentrate, and no I did not add the required water for the concentrate.  Gently simmer until lentils are tender adding more broth to thin the soup if necessary.  Serve with crusty bread and have a great salad for a complete meal.