This winter has been incredibly mild compared to our first two in Virginia. So far, there hasn’t even been any snow. It’s been wavering between spring-like and bitter cold outside, which has me craving comfort food more than ever. When it’s cold, I have a tendency to turn to cream based soups. I’m so glad I decided to make this one instead because it turned out to be exactly what I wanted. It’s rich and hearty without being heavy. Served with a piece of crusty baguette, this simple and unassuming meal was one of the best I’ve had in a while.
This recipe was written as a vegetarian one, but I couldn’t resist adding some andouille sausage to it. We’ve actually had mostly meatless meals lately, and I thought it would be nice to add something a little spicy to this soup. (Spicy foods are one of my few pregnancy cravings and meat has been my only aversion.) However, you can easily omit it without sacrificing any flavor for a vegetarian option. The smoked paprika in this adds a lot of flavor, and that smokiness is enhanced by the sausage. I had originally planned to make this with chorizo, but the andouille worked nicely. I hadn’t yet used lentils in soup and wasn’t sure how well they’d hold up, but their texture was perfect – just tender and not mushy at all. We really enjoyed the different textures from the beans, lentils and tomatoes. Because I was concerned about over blending, I think I may have under blended just a little. Either way, this soup was a big hit and has made for awesome leftovers this week.
Lentil and Black Bean with Andouille Sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces (2 links) Andouille sausage, halved lengthwise then cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 cup dried brown lentils
4 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, divided
3 cups water
1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes, until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Add more oil to the pot if needed and then add the onion and celery. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, paprika and bay leaves and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and their juices, lentils, 3 cups of chicken broth and 3 cups of water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 25-35 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer half the mixture to a blender or food processor, along with half the black beans and 3/4 cup chicken broth. Pulse until combined but not pureed. Add mixture back to pot, along with remaining black beans and 1 cup chicken broth. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in sausage and cook soup over medium heat until warmed through. Stir in parsley and serve.
Source: Adapted from Cookin’ Canuck