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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stone Soup

I have been having a bit of a cooking block.  I just haven't been having an easy time coming up with things I want to make.  It happens, especially when you cook as much as I do.  Sometimes I just want to order a pizza and call it a day.

As much as I might like to do that, there's something about take out on a "school night" that seems wrong to me.  I'm not judging those of you who do it.  It's just not for me.  But I've got to tell you, pizza has been looking mighty appealing lately.

Sausage makes everything taste better.
But I digress.  I was trying to come up with something to make for dinner tonight that would be (1) really easy, and (2) that I had everything in the house I needed to make it.  This is a tall order despite the fact that Kate insists that all we have are "ingredients".   I knew that chicken was out because I didn't have any.  Ditto for a whole bunch of other options.  But I did have two ham hocks (why?) and a pound of andouille sausage.  And a pound of lentils.  It was a start.

The great thing about soup is that you can really make it with whatever you have around.  Do you know the old story Stone Soup?  Well, call this Stone Soup with Lentils and Sausage.

Recipe:  Lentil and Sausage Soup


1 pound andouille sausage, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil (as needed)
2 carrots, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
1 onion, small dice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 ham hocks (optional)
8 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large, heavy pot over medium high heat, cook the sausage slices until they are browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the oil (if needed), and add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the same pot and saute until the vegetables are softened.  Add the lentils, stock, and ham hocks, if using.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, about 1 hour.  Remove from the heat and discard the ham hocks.

Pour half of the soup into a food processor or blender and process.  Return to the pot.  Add the sausage, parsley, and heavy cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

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