Cold day. Warm Soup. Enough said.
Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage and Kale
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 bunch curly kale
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (2½ cups)
4 stalks celery, chopped roughly (2 cups)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
½ pound fresh spicy Italian or fennel sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links
1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted
3 small dried bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1⅓ cups green (Puy) lentils, rinsed and picked over for small pebbles
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving
Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop roughly. You should have approximately 6 packed cups of kale.
Add ¼ cup olive oil, the onions, carrots, and celery to a small pot set over medium-high heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celery begins to soften.
Add the garlic, curry, and sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a spoon, until the sausage is mostly cooked through, 5 minutes. At this point your kitchen should smell insanely good.
Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, lentils, kale and the stock. The stock should just barely cover the kale. Stir it all together.
Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. The consistency should be like a thick soup, so add a bit of water to thin it out if the lentils are not quite cooked at this point.
Once the lentils are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and vinegar. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve in soup bowls, and shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top with vegetable peeler. Grab a spoon and go crazy.
Note: If your sausage is on the spicy side, add a dollop of crème fraîche to take the edge off the heat.