While spring has sprung some things always remain the same in San Francisco. One of them is the weather. It's never going to get very hot or very cold here. That has some definite advantages. While the rest of the country may be packing up their sweaters and dusting off their shorts, I can wear the same clothes year round and it's never too hot or cold to make my favorite dishes.
This is definitely one of my Rachel Ray favorites and one of the first recipes of hers I ever made. Now it's very easy; and, in some circles trendy, to criticize her cooking. To those of you who do, I challenge you to try this recipe and not like it. It's not only delicious buy very healthy and figure-friendly. The combination of the hot sausage and the smoked paprika give this a very homey, old-world flavor. The chard is a great way to get some healthy greens in while adding texture and flavor. Since this is what Rachel Ray calls a "stoup" it's combination of a soup and a stew. Served with some crusty bread you have a one-dish meal that will please everyone - even those who don't like Rachel Ray. While this is a "30-minute Meal" it really takes longer to make and if you make it ahead the flavors just get better and better!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
- 1 1/2 pounds bulk hot Italian sausage
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 portobello mushrooms, gills scraped out, chopped
- 1 cup pre-shredded carrots, available in sacks in produce department of the market
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 large starchy potato, peeled and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (or substitute a mix of 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika and 2 pinches cayenne pepper)
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, in tact on stems
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes, such as Muir Glenn or, regular diced tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups kale or chard, a small bunch, veins removed and chopped
- Crusty pumpernickel bread, to pass at table
- Butter, for bread
- Heat a medium soup pot over medium high heat.
- Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, then add sausage to pot and brown and crumble it, then add garlic, onions and mushrooms.
- Cook a few minutes, then add carrots, lentils, potato, salt and pepper, bay leaf, paprika or substitute mixture and rosemary (leaves will fall from stems as stoup cooks).
- Add tomatoes and broth and cover pot then raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Uncover pot and place heat back a bit but keep stoup at a good rolling boil.
- Cook 15 minutes until lentils and potatoes are tender.
- Wilt in greens in small bunches, remove rosemary stems and turn off heat.
- Let stand 5 minutes.
- Serve in shallow bowls with bread and butter to mop up stoup.
- Reheat leftovers thinning it with broth or water.