I am always surprised by the cold snaps that occur around this time. It is usually well into winter, but we still find it to be a pleasant temperature. Even though we live in New York, a place where a cold snap or two a January is as predictable as being hosed by some unspeakably awful puddle of street juice slush by a car spinning through an intersection, even though I’ve lived in this exact climate for every one of my thirty-I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it years; and even though I dare to look forward to winter every sticky concrete-steaming summer, when I walk outside on that first 20-degree day, and the wind gusts into my face and renders it hard to exhale, the very first thing I do is audibly scream in rage and disbelief, “WHAT THE WHAT?” I am nothing — as we joke when my sweet little son tries to shuffle down the hallway in his dad’s massive boots and immediately falls on his tush — if not Harvard Material.
The East Coast is experiencing a week like this one. Bourbon cocktail Plane tickets for a tropical destination with no children, uh, Family-friendly elixir Although I used to find comfort in such meals as Lasagna bolognese, You can also find out more about the following: The mushroom and noodles are a glorified version This year, my favorite is a hearty Lentil Soup topped with Sausage and Chard. It’s from the New Cookbook From the man behind, one of my first food blogs, which I still read. The Amateur Gourmet. You should buy this right now. Why? Why?
He’s good at it with non-chefs who aren’t as famous. For example, in a packed room last month, he made me confess my un-PC, top-secret method to get toddlers to eat the food you want. Not that I would be stupid enough to allow that to happen twice.
Adam visited chefs at their homes or workplaces to gather information for this book. He used a reporter’s journal and took notes. He discovered all kinds of exciting things, such as why Sara Moulton recommends that you sharpen your knives before you begin to chop and how you can determine whether butter is still fresh without tasting or sniffing (or even crossing your fingers). He’s only just beginning. On a lazy weekend afternoon, before my son started his still-ongoing nap strike, I was fascinated as I read about the secret to Jonathan Waxman’s salad tossing technique and Alice Water’s “crown” of fresh herbs that can transform even the most basic olive oil-fried egg into something heavenly. I also learned how he picked up tips through observation, such as how chefs use their produce quickly before it goes wrong and (still shocking, to be honest) how they sparingly use freshly ground black Pepper.
These tips do not widen the gap between home cooks and restaurant chefs. Nobody is on a high horse, sneering at those who cook according to recipes or benefit (gasp!) There’s no one on a high horse, rolling their eyes at people who prefer to cook from recipes or who benefit (gasp!) I had few opportunities to participate in my eye-rolling-at-chef-recipes pastime, such as when they expected me to use four skillets and eight prep bowls to make a single soup. This book’s stated purpose would be, in an ideal universe, the stated objective of every cookbook, which is to “prompt a catalyst for reliance in the kitchen.” It also produced one of the best, heartiest soups I’ve ever tasted on a cold January day.
Cherry Garlic oil sizzling on top.
Lentil Soup With Chard, Sausage, and Garlic
Half a cup of olive oil divided
Sweet Italian sausage, two extensive links (about eight ounces).
One medium onion, diced
Two celery ribs, diced or sliced
Peel and cut two medium carrots into half-moons (or dice)
Slice four cloves of garlic (reserve one half for another recipe).
Optional: A pinch of red pepper flakes crushed
1 cup sorted and rinsed brown lentils
2 Bay Leaves
One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
6 cups of water
Freshly ground black Pepper
Swiss chard or kale leaves, shredded or ribboned into 3 to 4 cups
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish
On the stove, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large saucepan on medium or medium-high. Add the sausage to the pot and break it with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the celery, onion, and carrots. If you want your soup to be spicy, sprinkle a little salt on top. Add the sausage and cook until the vegetables are softened, about five more minutes. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, and water (6 cups, a little more than two empty 28-ounce cans so you can use any tomato pulp missed), and add salt and Pepper to taste. Stir the soup and cook for 40 minutes until the lentils are soft. It may be necessary to add extra water if your soup becomes too thick. We preferred ours thick.
Add the chard to the lentils and continue cooking until the leaves become tender. This will take a few more minutes. The bay leaves should be thrown away.
In an InstantPot or electric multicooker, Cook the sausages and vegetables as described above using the saute feature on high. After adding the rest of the ingredients (including the lentils), lock the lid, and cook at high pressure for 15 mins. Allow it to release naturally for 10 minutes or more (if you have the time) to keep your vegetables intact. The rest can be manually removed. You can use the saute feature on high to bring the mixture back to a boil (this shouldn’t take long) and then add the greens. Cook until they are wilted.
Both Methods: To Finish, divide the soup into bowls. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, two garlic cloves, and a small skillet to the stove and heat on medium until the garlic is softened and hisses. Pour this mixture over the soup bowls and sprinkle with Romano cheese. Pass more to your guests. The leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.
You could do this on the stove, but it’s faster.