A Bit Of Warmth

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Ok, I know I said the boudin dressing and black drum recipe would be next, but with this wave of cold, my sausage and kale lentil soup is bound to meet the need for something warm, comforting and delicious! As my friends and family are well aware, I am a huge fan of the Red Stick Farmers Market which is  my main source of fresh, local and seasonal produce. This morning I picked up some sausage from the Cutrer’s and kale from a Ponchatoula farmer to go with some hearty lentils and the special ingredient, dried shitake mushrooms that I previously purchased from the farmers market.  The shitakes make a rich broth which paired with the sausage, adds incredible flavor to this soup. This dish doesn’t take long to make; however I am certainly a fan of cleaning as I go because you will need a couple of pots and bowls for this one. Below are the ingredients and directions to make this dish. This makes 8-10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of lentils
  • 1 lb (16 oz) of Cutrer’s original sausage (or your favorite)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup of chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1 cup of dried shitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups of chopped fresh kale
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:

  1. If using whole kale leaves from the farmers market, rinse kale and place in a bowl of water, or fill one side of a cleaned sink with water and let the leaves soak to remove any excess dirt.
  2. Add  dried shiitake mushrooms to 6 cups of water in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn off heat and top it. Let it sit for 15 minutes. This will make the stock for the soup.
  3.  Rinse lentils in a bowl and cover in water. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4.  Dice onion and add them to a large pot over medium high heat. Add a splash of water to prevent sticking and let cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Strain lentils and add them to the pot to lightly toast with the onions. It’s ok if there is a little water from the straining process.
  6. Pull mushrooms with a straining spoon from stock and dice on a cutting board.
  7. Add liquid and diced mushrooms to the large pot of lentils and onion and bring to a boil.
  8. Slice sausage in half longwise, then dice into thin chunks.
  9.  Open and add the can of low sodium chicken stock to pot, 2 additional cups of water and all of the seasonings. Bring to a boil.
  10.   Once it begins to boil, top the pot and reduce to medium heat.
  11.   Let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
  12. Rinse kale and chop into inch thick ribbons. Add to the pot and reduce it to low-medium heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  13. Turn off heat and enjoy!

Note: This is great by itself or with homemade grilled cheese or a ham and cheese sandwich.

Also, if you find you like more broth for your soup, you can always add additional water or chicken stock, to stretch the dish out.

Please let me know what you think!

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