I’ve been thinking for some time now about the power of words, how some can create joy or serenity and others make one feel defensive or uncomfortable, often unbeknownst to the speaker. Often it’s the specific words we choose that can change the tenor and tone of a conversation in an instant. It’s like the word “interesting.” Let’s say you meet someone new. That person can be “interesting.” Or, he or she can be “IIIINNNNN-ter-EST-ing.” Two entirely different connotations for the same word. I imagine we all remember certain words that were said to each of us that changed how we viewed ourselves or possibly even changed important decisions we made. It makes me wonder about the words each of us has used, not realizing their terrible or glorious power. I try to use my words (perhaps too) carefully, possibly in memory of certain words said to me, and the meanings I may have inferred that were not meant. So, how can we be sure of our own words in our daily lives? I think by starting with the smallest and most basic of things – food – of course. For example, over the years, I’ve found it is practically impossible for my family to think of soup as a meal. Chili? Yes. Beef stew? Bring it on. Lentil soup? You’re kidding, that’s not dinner! I really think it’s just the word “soup”. In my house, that word apparently means “something in a bowl that goes with a sandwich or a salad.” So, when I told them this Smoky Lentil Soup with Sausage was “Smoky Lentil Stew with Sausage”, they were all in. Simple word change, a different connotation. The result? Mutiny avoided.
Inspired by one of my most popular recipes, this Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup (“Stew”), I wanted to make an entirely different soup, but one just as easy and just as yummy. I felt like I should go to the green lentil side, and make a smoky-flavored soup. Green lentils have a decidedly different texture and “bite” that red lentils often don’t possess, due to their thicker skin. Like all lentils, they are filled with protein, fiber and plentiful nutrients! So much quicker to cook than beans but offering similar benefits. So, by adding some chicken sausage and a healthy supply of veggies, this Smoky Lentil Soup was born! And, it is delicious! Sweet sausage, savory and hearty lentils, a generous supply of vegetables in a smoky broth, all along with my favorite warming spices. Along with a crusty loaf of bread, this soup, which eats like a stew, makes a great dinner for a crowd, or a family dinner plus several days of leftovers for lunch. And, it gets tastier every day as the flavors continue to develop and meld.
If you want to learn more about lentils, this article from Bon Apetit describes all of the different types and how quick and easy they are to use. So call it what you want – Smoky Lentil Soup or Smoky Lentil Stew – either way, one of the most delicious, hearty and healthy dishes that is this easy to prepare. Simple words for a simply fantastic meal. Enjoy!
Smoky Lentil Stew with Sausage and Vegetables
A hearty and satisfying soup – sweet and savory sausage, smoky lentils, and tender vegetables, along with warming spices. This easy-to-make soup recipe is healthy and delicious!
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 40-60 min
- Total Time: 60-80 min
- Yield: 10-12 servings
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- 1 lb. mild bulk sausage (I used chicken sausage), or with casing removed
- 1 lb. Dry green lentils
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 Celery stalks, chopped into 1/2” cubes
- 1 Medium to Large onion, any color, chopped, 1/2” cubes
- 3 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2” cubes
- 1 Sweet Pepper (red, yellow or orange), chopped into 1/2” pieces
- 8 oz. canned Diced tomatoes (see Note 1)
Spices and Flavorings
- 6 c broth or stock (any type)
- 2 t Ground Cumin
- 1 t Smoked Paprika
- 1 t Ground Coriander
- 1 t Turmeric
- 1/2 t Crushed Red Pepper Flake
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 t Liquid Smoke (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Brown the Sausage
- In a large, heavy pot, over medium-high heat, place 1 T olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the sausage, and brown, breaking it up into smaller and smaller pieces as you go. Once it is brown, remove to a separate dish.
- Remove any excess fat from the pan, keeping 1-2 T for the vegetables.
Cook the vegetables
- If you used lean sausage, like chicken or turkey sausage, you may need to add a 1-2 T oil, for a total of 2 -3 T in the pot. Add the chopped celery, onion, carrots, and peppers. Cook for 7-8 minutes, until onions begin to appear translucent.
- To the vegetables, add the browned sausage, tomatoes, dry lentils, spices, liquid smoke (if using) and most of the stock.
- Season with 1 t salt and 1/2 t ground black pepper.
Simmer the soup
- Simmer soup 40-60 minutes. Add more stock/broth to adjust thickness as desired, or add water if you’ve used all of your stock.
- Be sure to taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Substitutes for canned, diced tomatoes include: 8 oz. tomato sauce, or 2 c cherry tomatoes, diced.
- Serving Size: 1/12 recipe
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