Lentil and Sausage Stew
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups coarsely chopped kale (or other leafy green)
1 cup dried green or red lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound sausage, removed from casing (We also used some leftover smoked sausage, sliced and then quartered into bite size pieces)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed chili flakes (to taste)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
handful of shredded cheese (optional)
1. Brown sausage in non-stick pan
2. Reduce heat to medium and deglaze the pan with the 1/4 cup of the chicken stock, add the garlic, chili flakes, paprika and cayenne pepper.
3. Toss in the greens and broth, heat until greens are wilted.
(Alternately, add kale near end of cooking for a different texture)
4. Add lentils and water, bring it back to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and season as needed with salt, pepper, chili powder, etc. to your liking. I found a pinch or two of chili powder added a nice touch with the paprika.
5. Serve, topping with shredded cheese, if desired
Pairs Well With
From the blog series, "New Food" on My Word with Douglas E. Welch at (http://douglasewelch.com/blog/category/new-food/)
Once again, we are trying to get new tastes and new foods into our family menus, so when I saw this recipe pop up on the [L.A. and O.C.] Foodventures blog, I knew it was something to try. I discovered I liked lentils during a holiday trip to visit family in Sicily and have been looking for a way to have more of them here. This ended up being very tasty and very filling. The original recipe said it would feed 2 as a main dish, but I think for our tastes it would serve at least 4. We made a double batch and ended up with a lot of leftovers -- not that won't be great to have on a busy night when we don't want to cook.
I have altered the recipe a bit. I replaced the water with more chicken stock, to make for a deeper flavor. We used both Italian Sausage and Smoked Sausage, as we had the latter left over and stews are always great for cleaning out the fridge. I found I didn't need to add the optional cheese at the end, as the lentils were so flavorful on their own.
Go easy on the heat here, too. Some recipes seemed designed to blow out your tastebuds with too much chili pepper. I added just enough to give you the taste -- and a little heat -- but not enough to fell like it is burring your mouth.