A few days ago, we decided to start a half-bathroom renovation. No, our kitchen is not done. We have a few more things to finish before I can officially call it done, and part of that involves us waiting for the pendant kit for our DIY light fixture to come in. So, in the meantime, we decided to completely gut our downstairs bathroom and redo it.
After having serious déjà vu while ripping up flooring, finding water damage (which we were somewhat expecting) and pulling up staples, all I wanted was a big bowl of comfort food. Instead, we had stovetop popcorn and whiskey sours. Even this food blogger doesn’t feel like cooking sometimes.
Had we planned better, I would’ve saved some of this soup from last week so that we could’ve enjoyed it for dinner during the bathroom renovation. If I’m being realistic, though, it would have been hard to save because I wanted to eat the leftovers for lunch every single day (and I did).
This soup is our current favorite winter meal. I find this time of year uninspiring in the food department, and I crave the kind of freshness that’s hard to come by in February. Thankfully, this soup has a healthy serving of greens, which quenches my desire for something super fresh. It’s hearty, comforting and just the thing we need to get through another
renovation cold weather snap.
½ cup olive oil, divided
2 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons
4 cloves garlic, sliced, divided
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup French or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving
Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Once hot, add the sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Cook for about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the onion, celery, carrots, 2 cloves of garlic and a pinch salt and red pepper flakes.
Cook for another 5 or so minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook until the lentils are tender, 35-40 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Stir in the chard and cook until the leaves are just wilted, 3-4 minutes more. Alternately, you can add the chard to individual portions of soup, if desired.
While the chard is cooking, place the remaining ¼ cup of oil and 2 garlic cloves in a small skillet. Cook until the garlic sizzles and softens.
Transfer soup to bowls and drizzle with garlic oil. Top with cheese and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep for several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.