I’ll be the first to admit that I’m honestly not a huge Rachel Ray fan. I haven’t really found any of her recipes to be one of those that I just had to go make right away. Until now. Her show “Rachel Ray’s Week in a Day” was on and she was making Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale. I knew I had to try it. I had an over abundance of dried lentil beans from my CSA box that I really needed to use. I had some kale and carrots from the box that also needed to be used quickly because they were on their last legs.
It was the perfect soup to start off Fall. It was flavorful, filling and just plain good. My whole family fell in love with it so in the Family Favorites book it goes. I have never tried using lentils before so I was kind of worried about it, but I have to say that I love them. There is no soaking overnight and cooking for hours to get the beans broken down. It takes an hour, tops, to make the soup. Of course I like to let it simmer a bit longer to develop the flavors more, but it’s ready an hour after you start it if you’re in a hurry.
I made it the day before and let it cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. Reheated on the stove top the next day with about an extra cup of chicken stock added (it was pretty thick) and dinner was served. It was even better the second day.
Lentil Soup with Kale and Sausage
Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound hot or sweet Italian bulk sausage
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bunch black kale, stemmed and chopped (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped kale)
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
Shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving
Heat the olive in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned. Don’t crumble it too fine, leave it a little chunky so you have nice meaty bites.
Add the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, carrots, onions and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Stir in the kale and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pot, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom until liquid has almost totally evaporated. Stir in the chicken stock and water and bring to boil (for thicker soup, use 2 cups less liquid).
Stir in the lentils and cook at on medium-low until the lentils are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.