Friday, September 7, 2007
Hearty Lentil and Sausage Soup with Pesto
I've been had. Got sucked right in along with most Sydneysiders. By the weather, that is. A whole week of blissfully blue skies, mid 20deg C temperatures. Of course I've already put away the thick doona, potted up some blooms, even took the bubs to the beach and stocked up on salad greens. Then brrrrr- the miserably cold and grey days are back.
I should really know by now. Every year it happens. Spring is such a tease, always full of promise but likes to take its time getting here. Not much I can do about the grey so I might as well embrace it. Very well then- the salad menus go back on file and out come the old, tried and tested soup recipes. Yes, they have to be old. Adventurous as I am with food, I like to rely on the familiar when eating for warmth and comfort. You see, I expect a lot from my soups. It may not be fair but I do. My soups not only have to warm but they also have to fill, heal, energise and satisfy. This concoction is one of the hardest-working and ever dependable soups I know.
Lentil soups seem very popular in many cultures. Moroccan harira, Indian dahl and the sausage and lentil combo is apparently 'very Dutch'. My version does not use any herbs while cooking but I like to add a dollop of pesto upon serving.
You will need:
2Tbsp olive oil
100g bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1/2 c cooked chipolata, cut ito small cubes (any sausage of your choice will do, even cubed ham can be used. i just happened to have had left-over chipolatas from the previous night's dinner)
1/2 c chopped fennel bulb
1/2 chopped carrots
400g tin chopped plum tomatoes
1c green lentils (the sort I used did not require pre-soaking, check the label on packaging)
4c bacon stock
freshly cracked black pepper
Heat up the oil in a saucepan and add the bacon. When the bacon is brown and has rendered fat, add the garlic and onion. Stir around until the onion is transluscent. Add the sausage, fennel and carrots and let cook for a couple of minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, cover and leave for two minutes. Add the lentils and bacon stock. Let it simmer on medium heat until the lentil is soft (but not too mushy), around 20mins. Season with black pepper.
Ladle into bowls and top with a teaspoon of basil pesto.
I am submitting this for the Second Annual Super Soup Challenge hosted by Tami. The photography/food styling in her blog Running with Tweezers are some of the most visually stunning, lip-licking food images I've seen. 'Food Porn' at its best ;-)