Once in awhile, a moment of IF synergy occurs. Such instances are rare, dependent on the coming together of innumerable elusive variables (weather- and palate-driven cravings, monetary restrictions, etc.) but when lightning does strike, it’s impossible not to enjoy it.
Yesterday, when Jill sent over her piece on tomato soup and grilled cheese, I was busy preparing my lunch—reheating the soup I’d made the night before, and melting a bit of almost-past-its-prime cheese on a toasted, almost-past-its-prime pita.
My soup was lentil, not tomato, and my cheeses were Swiss and cheddar, not Gruyère and gouda, but still: coincidence, or foodie ESP?
Our motivations were similar. I, too, ate excessively for the holiday, and my finances weren’t in top shape, either. I’d been out of town for almost a week, so the pantry was low on supplies; the cold, rainy weather just screamed, “Order in!”, but with a trip to Portland coming up and a week of unemployment behind me (plus more ahead), I knew I couldn’t afford to eat out again. There was no way I was going out in that nastiness, though, so I flipped through my stockpile of recipes to find one that wouldn’t require a special trip to the store; rosemary-scented lentils with sausage sounded like just the thing. Of course, I didn’t have the sausage, but everything else was doable.
I hacked the recipe to make it a single-pot meal, subbed in chunks of leftover lamb and roast chicken, and added the only salvageable handful of spinach from a bag in rapid decline at the bottom of my refrigerator. In one fell swoop, I finished off a container of lentils, cleared out my produce bin, pared down the contents of my freezer, and utilized several sprigs of heretofore forgotten fresh herbs, and, on top of that, it tasted good. Hearty and satisfying for a wet December evening, copious enough for at least two more meals (even given the fact that the Carnivore downed three bowls in one sitting), I now consider this to be a multitasking miracle-soup.
I’ll be keeping it on standby for the duration of the season—winter or unemployment, whichever ends first.
Rosemary-Scented Lentils and Sausage
Adapted from Cooking Light | January 2007
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups minced yellow onion (about 1 large)
½ cup minced carrot (about 1 medium)
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed [I used leftover lamb and roast chicken instead]
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon hot paprika
Dash of ground red pepper
2 cups water
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups petite green lentils
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and rosemary to pan. Sauté 9 minutes or until tender; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add sausage, if using; cook 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add tomato paste and next four ingredients; cook for 1 minute or until heated.
2. Add water, broth, and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.