Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage & Greens

I actually have a third tasty soup to share. This one is reminiscent of one of our family favorites, Lentil-Kielbasa Soup. Don’t worry- it’s not so similar that it will prevent me from making my tried and true lentil-sausage soup as well this season. ūüôā

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah Digregorio. I used French green lentils instead of black lentils, modified the proportions and incorporated a mixture of CSA greens including beet greens, broccoli greens and escarole. I also garnished the soup with my CSA parsley instead of basil.

This soup could easily be made on the stove top instead of in a slow cooker. I loved that it gobbled up my CSA greens too.

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian pork sausage, loose or removed from its casing
  • olive oil, if necessary
  • 1 large red or yellow onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 thyme¬†sprigs
  • 2 oregano sprigs, leaves only, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • generous pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups dried lentils, preferably black beluga (I used French green lentils)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole¬†or chopped¬†tomatoes
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 5 ounces greens, such as baby spinach or kale, or 1 medium bunch greens, such as chard or kale, stemmed and chopped (I used a mixture of beet & broccoli greens with escarole)
  • 1¬†T¬†red-wine vinegar
  • chopped fresh parsley or basil, for garnish
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish
  1.  In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spatula, until it is in small, coarse pieces, and starts to brown and sizzle in its own fat, about 8 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a 5- to 8-quart slow cooker. There should be a thin layer of fat covering the bottom of the skillet. If there is much more than that, pour a bit of the fat off. If there is not enough fat to cover the bottom of the pan, add a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Add the onion to the skillet, season generously with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the onion and garlic powders, the herbs, red pepper flakes and several generous grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
  6. Increase heat to medium-high, pour in the wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot. Let the wine bubble until the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes.
  7. Scrape the skillet mixture into the slow cooker with the sausage.
  8. Add the bay leaf and the lentils.
  9. Add the tomatoes with their juice. If using whole, crush the tomatoes into pieces using your hands as you add them with their juice.
  10. Pour in the chicken stock.
  11. Season generously with pepper and add 1/2 teaspoon salt if you are using low-sodium stock or 1 teaspoon salt if using homemade unsalted stock. Do not add salt now if you are using fully salted stock.
  12. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are tender, about 6 to 8 hours. (Taste the lentils to make sure they are firm but creamy on the inside; black lentils can vary in their cooking time depending on their age and the heat of your slow cooker.) The soup holds well on warm for 2 additional hours.
  13. Switch the heat to high. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the greens and cook until wilted and tender, about 2 minutes for baby spinach, 10 minutes for kale.
  14. Stir in the vinegar.
  15. Serve in bowls, topped with chopped parsley and/or basil and grated Parmesan.

Lalla Mussa Dal

This dish was so creamy and delicious I could barely stand it. The spicy kick made it absolute perfection.

This recipe was adapted from The Yellow Chilli Cookbook by Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, via The New York Times. This creamy lentil stew is his signature dish. I reduced the butter (by HALF), doubled the recipe, increased the garlic, used jalape√Īos, and used a pressure cooker to expedite the cooking process.

I served it over brown Basmati rice with sautéed spinach with garlic and cumin on the side. Wonderful!

  • 1¬†cup whole black gram lentils (sabut urad)
  • 1/4¬†cup whole green gram lentils (split mung beans or abut moong)
  • 2 green chiles (such as Indian harimirch or serrano), cut into thin strips (I used jalape√Īos, cut into rounds)
  • 1¬†2-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips
  • ¬Ĺ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2¬†cups tomato pur√©e
  • 2¬†teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder, or cayenne
  • 2¬†teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 16¬†cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1¬†cup heavy cream
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 1-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips, for garnish, as desired
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. Mix together both types of lentils and rinse thoroughly in salted water. Drain. If using a pressure cooker, cover with 2-inches of water; cook on low for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, add 1 cup water and soak for 1 hour.)
  2. Drain lentils again, add to a small pot with 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Skim the scum and dirt off the top and discard.
  3. Strain the lentils and return them to the pot. Add 1 cup water, the green chiles and ginger and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of the butter and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often and mashing with the back of a big spoon as the lentils soften.
  5. After about 35 minutes, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter in a deep nonstick pan; add the tomato purée and sauté on low heat until fat rises to the surface. (I used a 4-quart enameled cast iron pot.)
  6. Add the red chili powder (or cayenne), ground coriander, fenugreek leaves and garlic to the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to dry out and stick to the pan.
  7. Add the lentils and mix well. Add the cream and mix well. Add 1 to 2 cups water (for desired texture) and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.
  8. Serve hot, over rice and garnished with ginger strips, as desired.

One Year Ago: Shrimp in Green Mole

Two Years Ago: Stuffed Poblano Casserole

Three Years Ago: Sautéed Haricots Verts with Mushrooms & Shallots

Four Years Ago: Chana Dal and Spinach cooked with Onions (Mughlai Saag)

Five Years Ago:  Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry with Cashews

Makhani Dal (Butter Dal), Mogul-Style

IMG_3647

This was not the most seasonal dish to make in 90 degree heat! BUT- I LOVE dals– so healthy and flavorful, and I have been wanting to try this recipe. This popular Indian dal is rich and super creamy because it has whole milk plain yogurt incorporated in the dal and used again as a topping. This is the third dal that I have made from a New York Times Article written by Mark Bittman called “New York Dals”; I previously made Chilkewali Mung Dal (Split Green Mung Beans), Mumbai-Style¬†and Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas), New Delhi-Style. We ate this with brown Basmati rice and saut√©ed¬†Spinach with Garlic and Cumin. It was a “four-burner” meal- dal, tadka, rice, and spinach- but worth it. This was my husband’s favorite dal (so far…). I also doubled the recipe, anything that cooks for 3 1/2 hours needs to be doubled! GREAT!

TOTAL TIME: About 3 1/2 hours, largely unattended
  • 3/4 cup whole black gram beans (sabat urad)
  • 2 tablespoons adzuki beans or pink beans (choti rajma) or red kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons split chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt, whisked
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground-red-chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1.
Combine the legumes with 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pot; let the legumes soak for 2 hours.
2.
Add the whole-milk yogurt, 1 cup onions, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, paprika, chili and salt to the pot and bring to a boil once more. Cook, partly covered, over low heat for 90 minutes, or until the dal is very soft. Turn off the heat and use an Indian mathani (or balloon whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; it should be saucy but not soupy.
IMG_3645
3.
To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the remaining cup of onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until medium brown. Turn off the heat and stir in the cumin and garam masala.IMG_3643
4.
Transfer the dal to a large bowl and cover with the low-fat yogurt (we used whole-milk!); top with tadka, stir gently and serve.
YIELD: About 4-6 servings

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