Oh, January. You’re so cold. And you make me want to curl up on the couch and watch TV and eat popcorn. Which then makes my pants feel tight.
Luckily, you also make me crave a big bowl of steaming soup.
I recently got Giada DiLaurentiis’ new cookbook, Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count without Stressing Out.
She is not the first chef to point out how lovely it is that soups are so flexible and can use up odds and ends in the fridge, but she had me at kale and sausage, and even more when she added lemon and Parmesan cheese rind to the broth (one of my very favorite cooking tricks – it adds instant umami).
She calls for farro which I often have a hard time finding – (I finally found a source though and I can’t wait to make David Leibovitz’s Farro with Mushrooms and Bacon). So I used lentils instead, and I loved it. It would be great with white beans, rice, chick peas, Northern Beans…you get the idea.
The lemon and the Parm in the broth makes this soup so comforting and flavorful. And of course, you feel great after you eat it.
Also – if you saw my Instagram Story about how I made strawberry fruit leather, I got the recipe from this cookbook. But you can find a similar recipe here and a video here though I love that Giada uses 2 T. agave and 2 T. lemon juice with 1 pint of fresh strawberries and it tasted so fresh and bright and good.
So look out, February. I’m coming for you. And I have a big pot of soup that will fuel me through.
Happy Eating, xoxo Katie
Giada’s “House” Soup (printer version here):
Gilda’s Note: This soup was created to use up odds and ends, so feel free to substitute the grains, beans, pasta, and veggies with the ones you want to use up. Just don’t omit the cheese rind or lemon; they give the soup a lovely savory flavor.
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 leek white and tender green parts, washed well & finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped (Giada recommends 1 sliced and 1 chopped)
½ fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
½ t. Crushed red pepper flakes
¾ c. dried small white beans, such as navy
½ -¾ cup lentils (Giada’s calls for farro but I wanted to use lentils)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth
2-3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 (2×3 inch) piece of Parmesan rind
13 oz. turkey kielbasa or any kind of sausage (I used chorizo), cut into half-moons
4-5 large leaves of Tuscan kale, ribs removed, chopped
Freshly grated Parm for serving
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leek, carrots, and fennel, season with about ½ t. salt and the red pepper flakes, and saute slowly until very soft but not browned.
Add the beans and the lentils and toast for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes with their juices and the chicken broth, thyme, Parmesan rind, and half lemon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or until the beans are tender but not mushy. Season to taste with salt.
Add the kielbasa, kale, and sliced carrot. Cook until the kale and carrot are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and dicard the thyme sprigs, Parm rind, and lemon (squeeze into the soup before discarding). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parm if you like.