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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Souped up lentils are perfect for a chilly night

We were thinking about what to make for a quick and easy dinner, when suddenly a recipe came via email from Brys Estate.  Brys, as you should know, is a fantastic winery up on Old Mission Peninsula, just a short drive from Traverse City. Their pinot noir, cab franc/merlot, and ‘Signature Red’ are outstanding.  But I digress.   

Brys' recipe for 'Lentil Soup with Spinach, Chorizo and Bacon' provides a winter warm up dish, with just a little heat. The chorizo sausage fits perfectly with the lentils and fire roasted tomatoes. Bacon—everything tastes better with bacon.  The crumbled goat cheese garnish adds a rich creaminess. If you don't like goat cheese, reconsider. I also toyed with adding some avocado slices—next bowl.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 strips thick cut bacon - cut crosswise into 1/4 inch strips
  • 8 oz uncooked ground chorizo sausage (if buying the chorizo in link form, remove the casing and crumble the sausage)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 medium carrots, 1/4 inch diced
  • 1 - 15oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 - 15oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils - rinsed and picked over
  • 8 cups chicken stock (I used ‘Better than Bullion’)
  • 2 - 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt - to taste – (I didn’t add any salt)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper 
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • goat cheese for garnish


In a large soup pot, fry the bacon over medium high heat for about 4 minutes until it begins to crisp up. Add the ground chorizo and saute 3-5 minutes longer until the chorizo is browned. Next add in the chopped onion and carrots. Saute another 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Toss in the garlic and saute about a minute or so until the garlic is fragrant. 

Add the lentils, cannellini beans, can of tomatoes, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the lentils have softened.

Stir in the salt and pepper gradually, after tasting the soup. I didn’t add any salt, but you might want to. Before serving, turn off the heat, add the spinach and stir until the spinach has just wilted. Serve the soup in large bowls with crusty bread, and top each bowl with crumbled goat cheese.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Find this recipe and more on the Brys Estate Winery website. 
Brys is on twitter too!  

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