GREEN LENTIL SOUP

March 20, 2010

Forgive me in advance for my discombobulation.  Is “discombobulation” really a word?  No, it’s not.  But I’m an English teacher and so I think my made-up words should count.

Tomorrow morning I leave to chaperon the eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. We’ll be packing in some l-o-n-g days of sight-seeing and I just don’t know that any blogging is going to happen while I’m gone.  I bet I’ll have some excellent stories to share when I get back, though; I’m fairly certain this trip is going to be exhausting, educational, and highly entertaining.

After D.C. comes Passover break!  (Some of you may recall that I work for a  Jewish school).  And, what do you know, Jill and I are actually GOING ON VACATION.  To a resort.  On a beach.  Just the two of us.  Where they make drinks with little umbrellas in them.  Aside from road trips to see my mom or her parents, Jill and I haven’t taken a non-work related trip since I graduated from college.  Which was five years ago in May.  So, it’s time.

Fret not, though, while I’m lounging on some sunny beach and finally reading The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, two excellent guest bloggers will be taking care of things around here.  And once April rolls around, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming.

In the interim, I present you with some lentil soup.  Should you be experiencing the “cold snap” (feels more like the weather BROKE if you ask me, since it was sunny & 70 degrees yesterday, now blustery & 41, what gives?) that we are, or should you live somewhere that’s just straight-up cold, give this soup a try.   It’s very hearty but actually healthy at the same time, doesn’t take too long to throw together but gets better as it sits in the fridge for a few days.  Should you prefer a vegetarian version, Jess from Sweet Amandine read my mind and posted one.

Last but not least, I’m very proud to share that the Houston Press named Blue Jean Gourmet one of ten “Blog Stars” for the city!  You can read the full story here (and find me on page 5).

GREEN LENTIL SOUP

ingredients:

1 ¼ lb. sausage*
2 small yellow onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled & diced into small chunks
3 ribs celery, diced into small chunks
2-3 gloves garlic, minced
3 cups green (French) lentils, picked over & rinsed
6 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock (I used ½ & ½)
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted)
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp dried thyme
splash of red or white wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Slice the sausage into thick rounds and brown it at the bottom of a stockpot or Dutch oven.  There’s no need to cook it all the way through, just get good color on both sides, then remove it from the pot and set aside.

My sausage wasn’t very fatty, so I added a little olive oil before tossing in the onions.  You might not need any extra fat, or may even want to remove some of the sausage grease—it’s up to you.  Either way, get the onions going, and once they become translucent, toss in the garlic, carrots, & celery.

When the vegetables have lost a bit of their “tooth,” throw in the lentils, liquid, tomatoes, & aromatics (bay leaf, cinnamon, thyme, & about a tablespoon of salt).  Cover the pot and let everything cook until the lentils have reached your preferred softness, about 30-45 minutes.  You may need to add additional water or stock as you go.

At the end, stir in the vinegar and generous grinds of pepper, along with extra salt to taste.  Serve up in big bowls with a hunk of crusty bread or wholegrain crackers.

*I used a garlic sausage that we get from our meat share, but I think a mild Italian would work well here, too.

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12 Comments »

  1. Wonderful looking soup. I adore lentils, particularly in soup. And congrats! you are a star! And good luck with your grade 8 road trip! And enjoy your blissful time on the beach.

    Comment by dinnerwithjulie — March 20, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is fantastic! I read it over Christmas break. I started the sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, but whaddaya know, I got back to DC, started school again, and haven’t touched it since. Have a FANTASTIC vacation!

    Comment by Mnelle — March 20, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

  3. Made-up words definitely count. Definitely. Nishta, you’re not going to believe this, but I was in D.C. last weekend!! Rats. Have a wonderful trip, and congratulations on the article. You are a blog star.

    Comment by Jess — March 21, 2010 @ 6:13 am

  4. I love, love, love lentils. I made a pot of lentil soup this past week with regular brown grocery store lentils, onions, garlic, celery, beef stock and ground lamb. I used bay leaf, thyme, marjoram and parsley to season it and served it with a dollop of sour cream. Since it’s just me, I froze most of it in meal-size portions. So when I want a serving (for instance, why NOT eat lentil soup on Sunday morning?) I just pop a block of soup into a saucepan, heat it up and, voila! Instant meal faster, cheaper and more nutritious than running out for the fastest of fast food.

    Super post!

    Comment by Dorothy — March 21, 2010 @ 6:51 am

  5. If it’s in the OED, it’s not made up!

    trans. To disturb, upset, disconcert. So discombobulated ppl. a.; discombobulation, upset, embarrassment.
    1834 Sun (N.Y.) 21 Mar. 2/3 May be some of you don’t get discombobracated. 1838 J. C. NEAL Charcoal Sk. 14 While you tear the one, you’ll discombobberate the nerves of the other. 1839 Spirit of Times 16 Mar. 24/2 Finally, Richmond was obliged to trundle him, neck and heels, to the earth, to the utter discombobulation of his wig. 1926 R. FROST Let. 11 Feb. (1964) 178, I put my own discombobulation first to lead up unnoticably to yours. 1943 Sat. Rev. Lit. 23 Jan. 9/1 President Roosevelt’s sarcastic reply, when asked as to the wisdom of raising an army too large to be supplied from the home-front, in terms of ‘discombobulating the domestic economy’. 1957 M. MILLAR Soft Talkers ii. 21 It seems as though we were getting all discombobulated for nothing. 1962 R. P. BLACKMUR in E. Hubler et al. Riddle of Shakespeare’s Sonnets 138 The hues attract, draw, steal men’s eyes, but penetrate, discombobolate, amaze the souls or psyches of women. 1970 ‘E. QUEEN’ Last Woman I. 17, I don’t want you people to be in any way discombobulated.

    I personally will commence using the word discombobracation as frequently as possible.

    Comment by Emily — March 21, 2010 @ 8:29 am

  6. Emily beat me to it with the OED.

    I hadn’t read you, but I found you thanks to the Houston Press article, and will read you faithfully—you write beautifully.

    Comment by Mark Bennett — March 21, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  7. Yay to vacation coming up!! 🙂 So happy to read about that and you *deserve* one.

    Good luck with the kiddos on the DC trip. Sounds like… an adventure, lol. I’ll just stick with that adjective. Ha! 😉

    My fiancé got The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for Christmas. He has not read it, yet. I, however, am about finished with my “book pile” (for once! Wow.) and I plan to steal it and read it very soon. I’ve heard good things about it, too.

    LENTILS! They are a wonderful, beautiful, healthy food!! I have experimented with a lot of green lentil recipes, and I like the variations you have in this one! The sausage and cinnamon are two additions I have not tried, yet, so I am going to bookmark this recipe and make it soon.

    Congrats on the blog write-up! COOL!

    Something about your blogs always just makes me want to send you and Jill loads of LOVE (I think in part it is because your blogs are always so genuine), so there you go: love sent.

    Safe journeys to you Nishta.
    Karin
    (an alien parisienne)

    Comment by pariskarin — March 22, 2010 @ 6:41 am

  8. Congratulations on your Houston Press recognition. It is well-deserved, I can see! Have a safe trip in D.C. and a lovely, restful time on the beach.

    Comment by Dragana — March 22, 2010 @ 8:52 am

  9. well–I made it! D.C. survived 🙂 now, to do taxes & pack for vacation! thanks to everyone for the love & encouragement.

    Julie–I still freak out every time you comment on my blog. I’m like, JULIE is commenting on MY blog???? makes me feel fancy.

    Emily–you are awesome. can I carry you around in my back pocket? 🙂

    Mark–you made my day. glad to have you here.

    Karin–thanks for that love! we can feel it.

    Dragana–thank you for your kind words. we had a great time in D.C. & now I am ready for the beach!
    Dorothy–that is genius! Lentils are the perfect breakfast food.

    Jess–argh! such a near miss! one of these days…and thank you.

    Comment by bluejeangourmet — March 25, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  10. I’m de-lurking to say congrats and to let you know I think this looks fabulous!

    Comment by Jan (Family Bites) — March 26, 2010 @ 8:58 am

  11. this looks divine! can’t wait to try it.

    Comment by themsrevolution — March 31, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  12. I’m glad Emily clarified, because discombobulation is definitely a word in our house. Even The Monster uses it.

    Comment by Cheryl Arkison — April 4, 2010 @ 9:01 am

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