I am a big fan of soup - I probably make a big pot of it at least once a week and then freeze pint jars full for lunch throughout the week. I've been focusing on eating more whole grain/bean meals and this is a very delicious and hearty soup. Paired with cornbread it makes a nice meal on a rainy spring day.
Hearty Lentil Sausage Soup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1/2 pound Italian sausage (sweet or hot), cut into small pieces (I'm not a big fan of pork, so I use a nice organic, beef sausage from a local farm here in Michigan).
1/2 pound mushrooms (such as white, cremini, shiitake, portobello and oyster), chopped
1 cup (about 7 ounces) dried French or brown lentils, picked through and rinsed
2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 1/2 cups low-sodium mushroom and chicken broth
1 cup chopped tomatoes, with their juice
1 cup dry red wine
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 pound baby spinach, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent. Add sausage, increase heat to medium high, and cook until it begins to brown. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms have released most of their liquid. Add lentils, broths, tomatoes and their juice, wine, and pepper flakes, Cover pot and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are almost tender. (Add water if a thinner soup is desired.)
When lentils are almost tender, stir in the spinach, salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then add thyme. Serve the soup piping hot, with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top.
I sometimes will saute all the vegetables and sausage and then throw everything else (except spinach and cheese) in a crock pot for a few hours. Towards the end, right before serving, I add the spinach until wilted and then serve with some grated parm on top.
2 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 or 2 large eggs, beaten
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups buttermilk
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan. Mix all ingredients just until blended. pour into pan and bake 20-25 minutes. If cornmeal is coarse, you can soak it in the milk for an hour before mixing in the rest. You can mix in 1 1/2 cups of grated zucchini, or a cup of grated carrot. Use 2 eggs if adding veggies and only 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.