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 actually under blended just a little. Either way, this soup was a big hit and has made for awesome leftovers this week.