Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The colors outside, the color of food, and the time to start hunkering down and getting cozy. I go into nesting mode and cook soups and stews constantly, cozy up to Will and Cassidy, drink a glass of wine and watch a movie...oh ya, and I usually go to bed by ten. Lame I know.
We get our fair share of rain in the Pacific Northwest so it's hard to get me to do anything in the fall and winter outside, but on the rare occasion it's not raining I like to go hiking on a brisk fall day...and Cassidy likes it too!
After a long day of hiking you're definitely going to want something to warm you up like chai tea and this yummy stew and a rolling fire. This recipe is pretty big too, so you'll have lunch covered for a couple of days.
Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole
1 2/3 cup lentils, rinsed well
5 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
2 tbs olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1 in pieces
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 lb escarole, chopped
1-2 tbs red wine vinegar
truffle oil (optional)
Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a large pot pot, uncovered, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, celery, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.