Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Great Summer Pantry & Freezer Clearance: Day 2

Lentil, Sausage & Rice Soup
I found the perfect soup to deplete my frozen back-stock of stock. There was still a lot of vegetable stock left, and then there was the last of the turkey stock from last Thanksgiving that I found shoved in the back of the freezer. Pooled together they would be just barely enough for this big soup. What I didn't count on was how thirsty the brown rice was. It just kept absorbing liquid and I had to grab a can of chicken stock from the pantry in order to placate the giant soup-sponge it had become. What the soup pot demands, the soup pot gets. But once it gets everything that it wants, it's happy.

That's what I was shooting for - a happy soup, a soup that's everything it should be: warm, filling, flavorful, and full of good things that are good for you but taste so good together that you don't have to pretend to like them. A good soup is always more than the sum of its parts.

Lentil, Sausage And Rice Soup
adapted from page 87 in the Whole Foods Market Cookbook, (2002)

1 tsp fennel seeds
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
2 large carrots
1 Tblsp olive oil
3/4 lb. (3 links) Italian sausage (casings removed if using links)
12-13 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, turkey or combination)
2 bay leaves
1 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed
1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 big handful of fresh basil, minced
6 oz. fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped (optional)

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan over low heat until fragrant. Mince the garlic in a food processor, then add the onion and carrots and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fennel, garlic, onions and carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the sausage, breaking it up with the spoon while stirring for about 4 minutes.

Add 12 cups of the stock and the two bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Next add the lentils and the rice, stir. Leave to simmer for around 45 minutes to an hour or so, or until the rice and lentils have softened. If more liquid is needed, add the rest of the stock, one cup at a time and cook for 10 more minutes. When it's done, add the basil (and the spinach, if using) and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

My notes: I did not use the spinach this time. When soup had cooled, I divided  all but two servings into freezer containers. Hubs was not completely thrilled with this soup, but he ate all of it (even though he doesn't like lentils). I thought it was nice and filling. Next time I might add another garlic clove or two and cook the aromatics a little longer before adding the stock. Other than that... happy!

Want more soup? All the soup recipes that you could ever want at the Whole Foods Market website.
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  1. This is my kind of soup! I'd love it!! :)

  2. Sheila... Thanks! This has become one of our favorite soups. Great flavor and it actually freezes well too.


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