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. 🙂

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.

Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Slaw

I have made slow-cooker pulled chicken sandwiches in the past but felt like they would be improved with slaw. This version fulfilled that wish! We ate them on soft potato rolls with chips. It was a wonderful, casual dinner that we enjoyed outside on a beautiful night.

This recipe was adapted from Just Cook It! 145 Built-to-be-Easy Recipes that are Totally Delicious by Justin Chapple. I used broccoli slaw as a base for the cole slaw topping and opted to not toast the rolls. With minimal preparation required in the morning, it’s a great dish to serve after a busy day.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Pulled Chicken:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 8 to 10)
  • potato sandwich rolls, split, toasted if desired, for serving
  • slaw (recipe below), for serving

For the Slaw:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp celery seeds
  • 12 ounces broccoli slaw (Trader Joe’s) or Brussels sprouts or shredded cabbage
  • 1 large Ruby Frost or Granny Smith apple, cored and julienned
  • 1 very firm Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored and juilienned
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Chicken:

  1. In a slow cooker, whisk together the apple cider, ketchup, sugar, vinegar, garlic, 2 tsp coarse salt, and 1 tsp pepper.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and mix well.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or High for 3 to 4 hours, until the chicken is very tender.
  4. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken in the sauce and then season generously with salt and pepper.

To Make the Slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and celery seeds.
  2. Using a mandoline set to 1/8″, julienne the apple and pear. Slice the Brussels sprouts lengthwise by hand, if using.
  3. Add the fruit to the mayonnaise mixture, followed by the shredded cabbage/broccoli/Brussels sprouts.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
  5. Chill until ready to serve.

To Serve:

  1. Pile the pulled chicken on soft or toasted potato buns, top with slaw, and serve.

Note: The pulled chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Pressure Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

Using a multi-cooker like an Instant Pot seems to be all the rage. I can’t justify owning one… as I have a fabulous stove top pressure cooker and a separate slow cooker. Thankfully, wonderful dishes like this work with my old school kitchen supplies. 😉

The sauce is incredibly flavorful in this dish. I LOVED it! I am such a sauce person. I made it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs but cubes of lamb, fish, or pork could also be used. If using chicken breast meat the cooking time should be reduced to 2 minutes. This recipe was adapted from Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark, via The New York Times. I used crushed tomatoes instead of fresh and used a stove top pressure cooker. We enjoyed it with roasted CSA cauliflower on the side. Fabulous.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes or 3 to 4 ripe tomatoes, halved through their equators
  • 3 tablespoons ghee, unsalted butter or safflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the flat side of a knife, or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ½ to 3 pounds (about 10) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons garam masala, to taste
  • ½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • cooked brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional
  • plain yogurt, for serving, optional
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1. If using fresh tomatoes, start by setting a box grater over a bowl. Starting with their cut sides, grate the tomatoes through the large holes of the box grater so the tomato pulp falls into the bowl. Discard the skins. Measure out 2 cups of tomato purée.
  2. Heat the ghee and the coconut oil in the pressure cooker. Stir in the onions and sauté, stirring often to encourage even browning, until they are caramelized, 12 to 18 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cinnamon and cardamom and cook for another minute.
  5. Stir in the coriander, salt, turmeric, red pepper flakes, black pepper and finally the tomato purée (fresh or canned).
  6. Add the chicken to the sauce, cover and cook on low pressure for 4 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally; this could take up to 30 minutes. If the sauce seems too thin, use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a bowl and then simmer the sauce on the sauté setting until it has thickened to taste. (Note that the coconut milk will thin the sauce down further.) (I reduced the sauce.)
  7. Stir in the garam masala and the coconut milk, and let the curry sit for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld.
  8. Serve with the rice and yogurt, if desired. Garnish with cilantro.

Note: If you’d rather use a slow cooker, cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours, adding the coconut milk during the last hour.

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Broken Pasta with Shredded Pork & Arugula

Arugula is my absolute favorite item in my CSA share. It is so peppery and fabulous. I loved that this cozy comfort food dish used it as a glorious and bright topping along with lemon juice and cheese.

This dish was adapted from chef Nick Anderer of restaurant Maialino in New York, via Smitten Kitchen. I used boneless pork shoulder ribs instead of a whole pork shoulder, increased the lemon juice and cheese, added a carrot and omitted the fennel. I also cooked the meat in a slow cooker instead of the oven.

I reserved half of the cooked meat, after step 9, to freeze to enjoy at a later date. Nice.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder rib pieces (or 1 bone-in pork shoulder, about 4 pounds)
  • coarse salt
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 large ribs celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 carrot or 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 1 quart chicken stock, plus a splash or two more, if needed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 20-ounces dry lasagna, broken into 3-inch shards
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) grated or shaved parmesan or grand padano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, if desired
  • Large handful or two of arugula leaves, cleaned
  1. Prepare pork: Use a sharp knife to remove the thick skin from the pork, but not trimming off all the fat — leave a thin sheen. Season generously with salt and place in fridge until ready to use — overnight is ideal but a few hours will cut it as well.
  2. Sear the pork: Heat a deep saucepan over medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion, celery and carrot (or fennel) until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Dry pork with a paper towel to remove some excess salt. Season with pepper. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, then add the pork and cook until browned on all sides.
  4. Add pork to a slow cooker. Add broth, vegetables, and thyme sprigs. Cover.
  5. Cook on high for 3 hours. Remove pork from braising liquid. Allow to cool enough to be able to handle.
  6. Using two forks, tear the meat into bite-size shreds. Place in a large bowl.
  7. Strain the braising liquid, pouring enough of it over the pork to barely cover it and keep it from drying out. Place back in the slow cooker insert and set to warm.
  8. Pour the rest of the braising liquid into the original saucepan and simmer it until it is reduced by half.
  9. Add pork and cooking liquid that has covered it, and warm it back to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. (**At this point, I reserved half of the meat and braising liquid to freeze for use at another time.**)
  10. Add the butter and stir to emulsify. (Because I removed half of the pork, I used 1/2 of the amount of ingredients listed above for the remainder of this dish, including the butter.)
  11. Bring large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, or usually a minute shy of package directions. (I used no-cook lasagna noodles and cooked them for about 8 minutes.)
  12. Drain and add to the pork mixture, simmering for 1 minute.
  13. Add the lemon juice, half the cheese and parsley, if using.
  14. Ladle into wide pasta bowls with and top with arugula and remaining cheese.

Note: If saving some of the pork to use later, rewarm the defrosted pork and braising liquid to a simmer, add a splash or two of pasta cooking water if needed to loosen it, and then the butter. Add freshly cooked pasta, lemon juice and parmesan from here.

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Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

This really isn’t a taco blog! (or a Mexican food blog) 😉 I’ll stop after this one… or pretty soon anyway. In fact, calling these “tacos” is a little bit of a misrepresentation. They really taste something like deconstructed dumplings. Maybe? A warm, flavorful filling topped with a bright and crunchy slaw. All I really need to say is that these “tacos” were yummy.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I used trimmed boneless pork shoulder country-style ribs instead of a bone-in pork shoulder and an unpeeled European seedless cucumber. I served the filling in warm 6-inch corn and wheat tortillas instead of flour tortillas. Perfect.

This is the second dish I’m bringing to Fiesta Friday #105 this week! 😉 Hosted by Lily @ Little Sweet Baker and Julianna @ Foodie on Board. Enjoy!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

For the Pork:

  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 4 to 5-pounds boneless pork shoulder country-style ribs, fat trimmed or a 5-pound bone-in pork shoulder, skin and fat removed
  • 12 to 16 corn and wheat tortillas, warmed

For the Slaw:

  • â…“ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T neutral oil, like peanut or grapeseed
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 10 oz shredded green cabbage or 1 small green cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1 European seedless cucumber, unpeeled, sliced into julienne or 2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled and sliced into julienne
  • 2 medium-size carrots, peeled and sliced into julienne
  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, cored and sliced into julienne
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped
  1. Prepare the pork: Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. After a minute or so, swirl in the sesame oil and then the onions, stirring to combine. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are soft and becoming translucent. Turn off the heat, stir in the ginger and set aside.
  2. Add the hoisin sauce and the fish sauce to the pan, and stir to combine, loosening the mixture with a little less than half a cup of water. Add sriracha sauce to taste.
  3. Put a few spoonfuls of the sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker, then nestle the pork on top of it. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pork.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the slaw: Put the vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, neutral oil and sriracha sauce in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, cucumbers, carrots and Asian pear and toss to combine.
  6. Shred the pork with a pair of forks. Discard bones, if applicable.
  7. Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the juices. Serve with the slaw and warmed tortillas, with the cilantro on the side.

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Slow Cooker Mushroom Stroganoff with Egg Noodles

I have a few good friends whom I worked with many years ago. We don’t get to see each other very often, but one of the most wonderful things about getting together now is that not only can we catch up, but all of our kids really enjoy each others company as well. 🙂

On New Years Eve day, I set this dish up to cook while my friends and I- with all of our kids- went bowling! The lights were dim, the music was loud, and the kids really had a lot of fun. It was great to come home and have dinner ready!

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Sarah Bolla. I used cremini mushrooms instead of oyster mushrooms, creme fraiche instead of sour cream, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth, frozen pearl onions, and doubled the garlic.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering noodles
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces pearl onions (about 1 cup), peeled
  • 1 1/2 pounds white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps quartered
  • 8 ounces cremini or oyster mushrooms, quartered
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces egg noodle pasta
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • flat leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  1. In each of 2 large skillets, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and mushrooms to each of the skillets and season both with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until the onions have softened and the mushrooms are browned and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add a ¼ cup of white wine to each skillet to deglaze the vegetables from the pan.
  5. Transfer to a slow cooker.
  6. Add the stock, sliced garlic, Worcestershire, and mustard to the pot and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Transfer the pasta to one large serving dish.
  8. Stir some butter into the noodles (if desired) and top with the mushrooms and sauce.
  9. Swirl in the creme fraiche and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Note: The stroganoff can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

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If you like this you may also like:

Slow-Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde

My slow-cooker is really underutilized. When I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Dave Bakes, I fell in love with it. It had SO many of my favorite flavors. I loved that the chicken thighs and beans actually cooked in the salsa verde. The salsa imparted such a fabulously tangy and spicy flavor. What a wonderful slow-cooker meal!

A while ago, Dave of Dave Bakes convinced me to get a Pullman loaf pan… so I had to make a Pullman loaf of cornbread to accompany this meal. It was only fitting. 😉 Spicy and Great!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 12 to 16 ounces chicken sausage (about 5 links), such as chicken apple sausage or chicken other smoked chicken or turkey sausage
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (about 16 ounces each) organic Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2- 12 oz jars tomatillo salsa, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice, fire-roasted, chili-style, or plain
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 T finely chopped jalapeno peppers, or mild chile peppers (I used canned fire-roasted jarred green chilies)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • dash cayenne pepper, optional
  • sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain Greek yogurt, for serving, if desired
  • fresh cilantro, for serving, if desired
  • lime wedges, for serving, if desired
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, diced chicken, and sliced sausage; sauté until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through.
  2. Put the drained beans in a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker; add the skillet mixture and all remaining ingredients except the garnishes (sour cream (etc.), cilantro, and lime wedges).
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours. (I cooked mine on low for 7 hours.)
  4. To serve, top with a dollop of sour cream/yogurt/creme fraiche, sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and a lime wedge, as desired.

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