The last post I did was for a bean stew... since then there have been 12 atmospheric rivers dumping a record amount of rain in California. So I am still making bean stews! This is an update of a winter squash and bean stew that I do with lentils. Lentils have all the wonderful protein packed benefits of beans, but they cook much faster: 20 - 30 minutes. Plus they grow with much less irrigation than other crops like wheat and corn. I'm sure we will sometime soon find that important again. And while I love winter squash in stews, they are gone from the markets, but this works well with pretty much any vegetables you have around. I added mushrooms and cabbage to this soup along with extra carrots. Plus as always a bunch of greens - in this case I used collard greens which I love in soups.
Don't hesitate to add plenty of red pepper, or some hot sauce at the end. Yesterday's batch was a bit under seasoned - I added a nice spoonful of salsa which gave it a nice kick.
Here's what went into yesterday's batch:
Chop and saute:
Vegetable and Lentil Stew with Sausage
This can be a clean the crisper drawer kind of soup, with any kind a vegetable
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 slices of bacon (optional, good if you don’t use sausage)
2-3 links of pre-cooked chicken sausage (or use pork sausage – sauté instead of bacon)
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 4 carrots, sliced
1 or 2 celery stalks, sliced (optional)
2 cloves of garlic
Red pepper flakes to taste
Rosemary (1-2 teaspoons fresh), bay leaves (2-3), and/or Italian Seasoning
More veggies as desired: mushrooms, cubed butternut squash or sweet potato, green beans, tomatoes
6 cups of liquid - 1 quart chicken broth plus 2 cups water (or all water or all broth)
1 pound of green lentils, rinsed
1 bunch of greens (kale, mustard, chard), stalks removed, chopped (or baby spinach)
Herbs, lemon juice, salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste.
In a large pot, heat the oil. Sauté the bacon if using. Add onion, sausage, celery, garlic, chili (plus any veggies that would benefit from sautéing like mushrooms), plus salt to taste (I start with a ½ teaspoon). When onions are translucent (5 minutes or so), add carrots and other vegetables, rinsed lentils, broth / water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 25 or 30 minutes, until lentils are tender (don’t cook to the point of falling apart). Add more water if desired. Add chopped greens. Kale or mustard greens need to cook 5 to 10 minutes; baby spinach is done as soon as you have stirred it in. Taste – add salt, maybe a squirt of lemon juice, herbs, some pepper, maybe some hot sauce as desired.