Image: Excerpted from Flour, too by Joanne Chang
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 8 oz/225 g sweet Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, cut into ½ -in/12-mm pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-in/12-mm pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 -in/12-mm pieces
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus 1 tbsp
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme, or ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, finely chopped or ground
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 -in/12-mm pieces
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 -in/12-mm pieces
- 1 large leek, white and tender green parts, well rinsed and chopped
- 7 or 8 button mushrooms, wiped clean and halved
- 1 small turnip, peeled and cut into ½ -in/12-mm pieces
- 1/4 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 -in/12-mm pieces
- 2 qt/2 L vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
- 1 cup/130 g canned “no salt added” crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup/135 g green lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups/85 g lightly packed chopped winter greens, such as escarole, kale, or swiss chard
- large stockpot
1 In the stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Split the casing on each sausage, break up the meat into large pieces, and add the pieces to the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meat is mostly cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.
2 Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery to the stockpot and stir over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon for a few minutes, scraping up the browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. This residue is called the fond and it will add lots of flavor to your soup. When all of the fond has been scraped from the bottom, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the tomato paste and the 1⁄2 tsp salt, and stir to combine. Add the bay leaves and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are thoroughly coated with the tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low. Add the paprika, thyme, turmeric, oregano, cumin, fennel seeds, curry powder, and cinnamon and stir for 3 to 4 minutes to toast the spices.
3 Add the reserved sausage and stir until evenly coated with the spice mixture. Raise the heat to medium; add the potato, parsnip, leek, mushrooms, turnip, and squash; and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the stock and tomatoes and stir in the remaining 1 tbsp salt and the pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes.
4 Add the lentils and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Add the winter greens and stir well. Let the soup simmer for 1 minute, or until the escarole is cooked. The soup should be thick and stewy. Fish out the bay leaves and discard. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Makes: about 3 1/2 qt/3.3 L
Serves: 6 to 8
Omit the sausage. Increase the vegetable oil to 3 tbsp, add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and saute the vegetables for a few minutes over medium heat. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, add the tomato paste, and proceed as directed.
Omit the parsnip, leek, mushrooms, turnips, squash, and winter greens. Substitute about 2 cups/250 g diced zucchini, 2 cups/250 g diced summer squash, 1 cup/135 g corn kernels, and 2 cups/ 50 g baby spinach.
For a bean version, omit the lentils. Place 2/3 cup/120 g dried chickpeas, 2⁄3 cup/120 g dried cannellini beans, 2⁄3 cup/120 g dried black beans overnight in a bowl or other container, add water to cover by about 3 in/7.5 cm, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Drain and rinse the beans. In a Dutch oven or other large ovenproof pot, combine onion, chopped; carrot, peeled and chopped; 1 tomato, halved; 2 bay leaves; 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes; 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; and water to cover the beans by 2 in/5 cm. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil, transfer to the oven, and braise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Add the beans and their liquid to the soup in place of the lentils and simmer until heated through. Add the winter greens and proceed as directed to finish the soup. This version will yield 5 to 5. qt/4.7 to 5.2 L soup (serves 10 to 12).
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Excerpted from Flour, too by Joanne Chang. Recipes Copyright © 2013 Joanne Chang, Photography copyright © 2013 Michael Harlan Turkell. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco. All rights reserved.