Blizzard Lentil Stew

Here’s a yummy stick to your ribs kinda soup recipe for this cold stormy winter day.  Make a big pot so  you have leftovers for tomorrow… Lentils are good for you and hearty in stew for chilly days. I took a basic Italian lentil soup and kicked it up a bit with some changes and additions.  My daughter loves the Italian sausage in it and I love the kale added to the mix.  Kale is very trendy these days but I have been using it for years; this is one of my favorite recipes to make with kale.  It increases the nutritional value and the flavor of a soup.  I also like how easily it goes together.  If you hate kale leave it out; spinach is really tasty too in it.  I prefer fresh kale, don’t forget to cut off any tough stems.  In this batch I used a mixture of sweet Italian sausage and hot spicy sausage.  Lots of extra flavor that way!

This stew could be made vegetarian; use vegetable broth and leave out the sausage.  I don’t always have the parm cheese on it but it is very tasty with it.

 

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Lentil and Sausage Soup

Ingredients

¼ cup EVOL

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp. tomato paste dissolved in ½ cup water

2 cups dried brown lentils, washed after measuring

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1-2 quarts chicken broth, I prefer Kitchen Basics.  If you don’t have that much broth just use water for part of it.

1 lb Italian sausage (sometimes I use a mix package of mild and spicy links)

1 lb fresh or frozen kale.  Fresh is best; chop it up but frozen will do

½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, optional (for topping)

2 tbsp chopped parsley; can leave out if adding kale.

Directions:

Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a big heavy bottomed soup pot.  I use a heavy bottom as your soup will be less likely to burn.  Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the sausage; push the onions to the pan’s walls so they don’t burn.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Add tomatoes and stir up well, add the tomato paste in water and cook 10 minutes.  Add broth and season with salt and pepper; remove sausage to a plate to cool. Bring the soup back to a boil and then add lentils.  Cook about 45 minutes to 50 until lentils are done to your taste, add the potatoes 20 minutes into the cooking time.  Stir pot occasionally so it doesn’t stick.  Add the kale and cook 5-7 minutes.  While the lentils are cooking you should cut up the sausage into rounds and add back to the lentil stew when they are done.    Let the soup stand at least 15-20 minutes once it is done.  Serve in a wide soup bowl with a good sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese on top.  Perfect on a cold winter night to warm you up from  your tummy to your toes!

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Winter Tummy Warmer: Italian Lentil Stew

Okay, I have one more yummy soup recipe for these cold winter days.  I took a basic Italian lentil soup and kicked it up a bit with some changes and additions.  My daughter loves the Italian sausage in it and I love kale added to the mix.  Increases the nutritional value and the flavor.  I also like how easily it goes together.  Lentils are very earthy and very good for you. I have to say that my daughter loves this recipe; I made it because she was talking about it last week. Perfect to enjoy during this frigid weather.

If you hate kale leave it out; fresh baby spinach might be tasty too in it.  I like my kale fresh when making stews and I usually cut off any tough stems.  This recipe is naturally gluten free.  Do be careful about the broth you use.  Make sure it is labeled gluten free.

 

It could be made vegetarian; use vegetable broth and leave out the sausage.  I don’t always have the parm cheese on it but it is very tasty with it.

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Ingredients

¼ cup EVOL

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp. tomato paste dissolved in ½ cup water

2 cups dried brown lentils, washed after measuring

1-2 quarts chicken broth, I prefer Kitchen Basics

1 lb Italian sausage

1 lb fresh or frozen kale.  Fresh is best; chop it up but frozen will do

½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional (for topping)

2 tbsp chopped parsley; can leave out if adding kale.

 

Directions:

Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a big heavy bottomed soup pot.  I use a heavy bottom as your soup will be less likely to burn.  Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the sausage; push the onions to the pan’s walls so they don’t burn.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.

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Add tomatoes and stir up well, add the tomato paste in water and cook 10 minutes.  Add broth and season with salt and pepper; remove sausage to a plate to cool. Bring the soup back to a boil and then add lentils.

yogurt and apple crisp 021 Cook about 45 minutes to 50 until lentils are done to your taste.  Stir it occasionally so it doesn’t stick.

Add the kale and cook 5-7 minutes then add back the sausage.  While the lentils are cooking you should cut up the sausage into rounds and add them to the stew when the lentils are done.    Let the soup stand at least 15-20 minutes once it is done.

Serve in a wide soup bowl with a good sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese on top.  Perfect on a cold winter night to warm you up from  your tummy to your toes!

I only made a half batch this time as that was all the lentils in the house. We ate it all up before realizing I had forgotten to take a picture of a bowl of hot soup, ready to dive my spoon into it’s tasty depths.  Next batch!

Turkey Posole, A Savory Mexican Stew

I am betting you have some roast turkey in the fridge or freezer, maybe a pint of gravy too?  Well, I have just the recipe for you, courtesy of foodnetwork.com.  It is nothing like most traditional turkey leftover recipes.  It is a Mexican stew.  Posole stew can easily be gluten free. Just use care choosing your chicken broth and your tortilla chips that accompany this savory soup.

I have been making it every fall after Thanksgiving and always look forward to a few bowls of it.  Spicy, crunchy, tangy; unlike any other soup I make.  It is called turkey posole. It can be made with roasted pork and I have done so.  I like it far better with roast turkey.  I have served this stew to many people and it is always well received and enjoyed, even by my elderly mother.  I haven’t made my 2014 batch but it is coming next week to my dinner table.  Can’t wait!

posole stew

Ingredients

2 tbsp mild olive oil or canola oil

2 medium onions chopped

4 cloves garlic chopped fine

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine –use two if you like it spicy

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 GF beer (can use 1 cup water if you want but it gives more flavor)

Coarse salt and pepper

12-16 tomatillos; about 2 lbs, take off the paper cover and chop up.  Can coarsely chop in food processor

5-6 sprigs fresh thyme; chop it up off the stems.

1 15-17 ounce can hominy

1 qt chicken stock (can be part gravy)

1 ½ to 2 lbs chopped turkey meat; can be mixture of light and dark

1 lime juiced

Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish

Tortilla chips; the ones with lime go particularly well with this.

tortilla chips

Cook first six ingredients about 5 min in a large stock pot.  Add beer, cook one minute.  Add chopped tomatillos and cook 5-6 minutes until softened.  Add hominy, thyme and stock and cook 15 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper.  Add lime juice, stir well.  I never use cilantro; something I just don’t like, but feel free to add it as the original recipe uses a bunch of it.

We ladle the posole into bowls and serve lots of white tortilla chips to crunch over the top of the hot soup.  As the soup disappears from my bowl I like to add more chips to keep the crunch going.

Notes:

tomatillos

tomatillos

The more jalapeno pepper you add the hotter it will be. I have tried canned tomatillos and they are not really a good substitute.  You can get them fresh (found near the fresh tomatoes) in many stores including Giant and Bottom Dollar.  They are used in Hispanic and Mexican cooking and add a lot of flavor and tartness to the soup. hominy

Hominy is a corn product; whole kernels soaked in lye to swell and soften.  The kernels have a mild corn flavor plus they soak up other flavors quickly and add a certain texture and body to the stew.

The wild turkey is native to North America and another turkey species is originally from Mexico.  So turkey is a natural component in this stew.  The Aztecs revered corn and liked to cook it with meat.  Tomatillos are native to Mexico, related to cape gooseberries.  They are used in salsa verde and other Mexican dishes. So this compilation of turkey, corn, tomatillos and lime is a natural combination that will be easy to make and fun to eat. Go on, be adventurous and enjoy a steaming hot bowl of delicious posole and use up that turkey in a totally different way!

Spicy Baby Eggplant and Pasta Stew

This post is for my friend Diane, the queen of eggplants!  We have been friends for a couple of years and share garden space at the church garden.  She really knows how to grow eggplants, dozens on a single plant both years!

baby eggplants

This recipe is for dealing with those small eggplants you find yourself with when the frost strikes and all delicate plants die in the frosty fall air.  I pick them no matter how small and this is how we use them!  Yes, the eggplant recipe fest continues!

This stew is very suitable for the slow cooker although you could do it on the stove top, I used to cook them in a big pot and watch over it until the eggplants are tender but I really love being able to put it all in my crock pot and walk away for four hours.  No worries on burnt bottom of the pot syndrome when you use the slow cooker.

If you don’t have baby eggplants I think you could use Japanese eggplants cut into workable lengths.

I used to make it rather bland but I really enjoy this spicy version!

Spicy Baby Eggplants and Pasta Stew

Ingredients

7-12 small eggplants from tiny up to about six inches long

1-2 ounces hard parmesan cheese

1 32 oz can of tomato sauce

½ cup baby carrots

1 medium carrot diced

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to your personal taste)

½ tsp. sea salt

1 large garlic clove, smashed

½ cup oil cured black olives

1-2 tbsp. capers

Directions:

Cut the Parmesan cheese into tiny wedges.  Trim off the top cap of the eggplant.  Cut 3-4 slashes in the side of each eggplant going in the direction from the cap to the bottom.

Put a wedge of cheese into each deep slash.  I only put 2 slashes in tiny eggplants, 3 in bigger ones and 4 in the largest eggplants.  Put the eggplants into your slow cooker. Top with the chopped onion and carrots.  I cut my carrots in half as they were kinda large. Top with the herbs/spices. Pour the tomato sauce over it all. I used a quart of homemade tomato sauce out of my freezer. If you use a can of plain tomato sauce you might want to add 1 tsp. dried basil and same amount of oregano.  Top with the garlic, olives, and capers.  Cover and cook in your slow cooker on high for 4 hours.

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Cook gluten free ziti, enough for how many people you are serving, and drain it one minute before the package directions say it will be done. Put it back in the now empty pot and add the eggplant mixture out of your crock pot.  Cook a minute stirring it all around the pot.  This allows the ziti to soak up some of the sauce and get a great authentic flavor.

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Serve in a low wide soup bowl with a good grating of Parmesan cheese on top.  If you have some gluten free rolls or fresh bread – heaven with this stew!

I like this stew leftover for lunch served over a microwaved baked potato. I use a knife to coarsely chop up the baby eggplants before heating them and pouring over the hot potato.

Note I used olives with pits but if you can find them pitted, all the better! If you are an olive hater, leave them out but they really add to the flavor.  Add more salt if you leave them out.