Monday, February 25, 2013

Lentil-Kale-Chorizo Winter Stew

Lentil-Kale-Chorizo Winter Stew

WINTER IS COMING. Ok, so maybe winter is on the way out, if the groundhog can be trusted, but it's still mighty cold down here in DC. I am still using my heaviest coats and haven't retired my winter boots yet. I have seen some days where the sun is trying its hardest to dominate, but has lazily given up the struggle by the early afternoon... So I have been trying to make some healthier (and sadly cheese-less...grrr when is Easter already!?) cold-weather hearty meals. I have made this stew before, and it was inspired by my friend Hannah F. who made the original recipe from Smitten Kitchen (I am a big fan!) while I was visiting her up North. She recently made the wedding cake for two dear friend's wedding, and I cannot rave enough about this girl's talents. 
At wedding: Me to Hannah- we're the same amount of tan here! haha modern miracles
Take heed of this warning now: this is not a Single Serving recipe, you probably get about 5-6 servings out of it, but I have a super busy week coming up so I don't have time to do much spontaneous cooking. This is really great to store in some containers you have lying around, as you will see at the bottom like I did. Simply reheat a new serving for 2min 30secs approx and you're good to go. The original calls for more variations of vegetables, but I have a harder time finding use for the extra carrots and celery, and I am too lazy to deal with the garlic infusion at the end (although when Hannah made it, I definitely enjoyed it). The first time I made it, I didn't use any chorizo so I wanted to try it this time with some meat in order to see what extra flavors it added. I ended up using turkey chorizo which I bought at Whole Foods, my health guilt got the better of me in the queue for the butcher. If I make it again with meat, I would go full chorizo next time. I had half a package of lentils from last time I made this, which works about to be a cup per batch of stew. Also, I know I wasn't able to because of Lenten fast commitments, but drizzle some Locatelli or Parmesan cheese on top of each bowl when you are serving- really adds a nice tang.

Don't forget the big ass pot! also, I didn't include it but add salt & pepper to this
Coat bottom in olive oil and brown the meat
My chopping skills need some work still....
Stir up vegetables with the meat
Pour in crushed tomatoes
My Nana only uses Scalafani crushed tomatoes so naturally, I do as well. It makes a difference.
Add remaining ingredients except kale
Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 40 minutes
Chop up Kale and stir it in for a few minutes at the end so it doesn't become soggy
What it looks like when it's done cooking
Besides the bowl I ate, this is how much is leftover
I enjoyed with a cider, perfect for a cold winter's night
The Single Serving!
Lentil Kale Chorizo Winter Stew Recipe:
    1/4 cup, olive oil
    1or 2, chorizo sausage link(s) (may remove and make it vegetarian-just as delicious)
    1 medium yellow onion, diced

    2 large cloves, garlic, diced
    1 tbs, kosher salt

    1 tps, black pepper
    1 cup, brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
    2, bay leaves
    1 28-ounce can, crushed tomatoes (Scalafani brand is best)
    6 cups, water**

    1 head, kale, chopped
    Grated Italian cheese

**to get the 6 cups-1 empty 28oz can should be filled up twice with water to catch any remaining tomato pulp
How To-
Heat olive oil (make sure it is enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. While oil is heating, remove the casing from the sausage. When oil is hot, add the sausage by breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, which should be about 5-6 minutes. 

Next, add the onion, garlic cloves, and half a tablespoon of salt (or a couple of grinds on the salt mill). Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 4-5 minutes. 

Then, add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water, and remaining salt and black pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook stew, covered, for about 35-40 minutes or until lentils are soft.

When the lentils are cooked, add the kale and cook for a few minutes until the leaves get tender. Make sure to get rid of the bay leaves. 

If you are living alone like me, then store the remaining soup, once it has cooled, in containers and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. 


I realized while I was making this that my sister would really love this, if I made the vegetarian version again. I didn't enjoy the actual taste of the turkey chorizo as much, so unless I make it with real chorizo next time, I will try to wait and impress my sister with this recipe. The soup keeps really well; I bring it for lunch to work and I have it for dinner. The kale gets a bit soggy so it is possible, if this is something that bothers you, to add the kale individually when reheating each new serving so it's fresh. Frankly, I am too lazy and the taste remains the same- it is only the consistency that changes. 

Speaking of Winter coming, I could see myself holed up in my room eating this during the premiere of Game of Thrones (March 31st! not soon enough). I would imagine I was in the great hall in Winterfell, with a Direwolf tugging at my fur coats, eating this hearty soup. Perfect situation. 

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