Okay, you’re really going to have to try not to judge a book by it’s cover here. I know this stew isn’t the prettiest thing to look at but, OMG, it will knock the socks right off your taste buds! No joke. We’re talking insanely delicious here… like “at the end of the week I’ll be sad that there isn’t any left” delicious.
The recipe posted below is adapted from this Lentil Sausage Soup over on dlynz.com. I still have half of a huge bag of lentils to use up and I’m trying to fiber pack my diet so this soup/stew really fit the bill. And, as always, I made some changes to the recipe to accommodate what was available to me at good price.
The recipe makes a ton but luckily it freezes well. If you want to make a half batch just cut everything in half. Sausage usually doesn’t come in a smaller pack than 1 lb. but luckily, sausage also freezes well. I went for a reduced fat turkey “Italian Sausage” because of the cholesterol issue and I was pleasantly surprised! I fully expected it to gag me but it turned out insanely delicious and I couldn’t even tell that it was turkey instead of pork. SCORE!
Okay, on to the recipe…
Lentil & Sausage Stew
- 1 lb. Italian sausage $3.82
- 1 medium onion $0.35
- 3 med. (1/2 lb.) carrots $0.39
- 4 stalks (1/2 bunch) celery $0.69
- 2 cloves garlic $0.10
- 2 cups brown lentils $0.62
- 2 Tbsp (or 6 cubes) chicken base (bouillon) $0.60
- 6 cups water $0.00
- ½ to 1 tsp cayenne $0.05
- 1 tsp paprika $0.05
- 1 tsp cumin $0.05
- 1 tsp oregano $0.05
- 10 oz. frozen spinach $0.99
- Cook the sausage in a large pot over medium heat. If you are using a soft sausage (like I did, see photos below) it will be easier to squeeze it out of the casing than to slice it. A firm sausage can be sliced prior to cooking.
- While the sausage is cooking, prepare your vegetables: wash, peel and slice the carrots and celery; dice the onion and mince the garlic. Once the sausage is cooked, add the vegetables and continue to cook until the onions are soft and transparent (about 5 min).
- Measure out the lentils and pick through them to make sure there are no stones. Add them to the pot along with the chicken base (or bouillon), 6 cups of water, cayenne, cumin, parika and oregano.
- Bring the pot up to a simmer, place a lid on top, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Add more water if it gets too dry. (taste it to see if lentils are soft, you can also adjust the seasoning to your preference at this point)
- Stir in the frozen spinach and cook for about 15 minutes more. Serve with a thick slice of crusty bread!
Step By Step Photos
This is the turkey sausage that I used. I really honestly expected it to be as bad as turkey bacon but it was DE-LI-COUS! It was way too soft to slice so I just squeezed it out of the casing and cooked it like ground sausage.
Brown the sausage in a large pot. I find that even the reduced fat turkey sausage has enough fat in it to keep it from sticking and burning. No extra olive oil needed here. If you are using traditional pork Italian sausage, you can drain the extra fat off after cooking if desired.
While the sausage is cooking, chop up your veggies. Add them to the pot and continue to cook.
Cook the veggies until the onion is soft and transparent. The carrots and celery may not be fully cooked at this point but that’s okay, they’ll keep cooking.
Pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones then add them to the pot.
Add 6 cups of water and 2 Tbsp (or 6 cubes) of bouillon and the spices (cayenne, paprika, oregano and cumin). Bring it all up to a simmer, put a lid on top, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Add more water if it gets too dry.
While the stew is simmering, take care of your left over vegetables. I only used half a bag of carrots and half a bunch of celery in the stew. So, I washed, peeled and sliced the rest, placed them in a freezer bag and saved them for the next soup that I make. Most soups and stews start with a base of onion, carrot and celery so I’ll have less prep next time! I also saved my scraps and will place them in my “vegetable scraps” freezer bag to make a vegetable stock with later.
At this point the lentils are cooked and I can add the spinach. Spinach is a delicate green so I add it at the end to prevent over cooking and total disintegration.
Stir in the frozen spinach and cook for another 15 minutes or until heated through.
And then it’s done and ready to eat!
It’s hard to tell but it is BURSTING with flavor, I swear!