Thursday, January 27, 2011

California Winter Sausage Fennel and Lentil Stew

Photo from Simply Recipes
The entire process of making this soup took about 6 hours, including making the beef broth from scratch, but was well worth the effort.  The soup turned out hearty and delicious with a hint of minestrone-like sweetness and nice, earthy smokiness from the sausage.  Dip a thick slice of a peasant style bread and freeze the leftovers - this recipe makes enough to feed a village.
  • 8 1/2 cups beef stock or canned broth
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup soaked barley
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cup freshly chopped Roma tomatoes)
  • 4 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 6 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2-5 teaspoons Creole seasoning to taste (or combine Smoked Paprika, 3 cloves chopped garlic, cayenne pepper, marjoram)
  • dash or two of rich Italian Balsamic Vinegar
Combine stock, barley and lentils in large pot over high heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add fennel; sauté until seeds are light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove seeds from skillet.
Heat oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add celery, carrot and onion; sauté until onion is translucent and celery and carrot are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add toasted fennel seeds, sautéed vegetables, sausage, thyme and Creole seasoning to soup. Cover and simmer until lentils are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.)

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