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
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.