Week 31, Meal 1: Health food soup

Excuse the lack of a “finished product” shot for this post, but I went three days in a row to freakin’ Sprouts for a loaf of French bread and they were sold out each time so we just ended up chipping away at this one until there was nothing left.

For the first meal of Week 31: Souper soups, Chef Brian is going Italian, throwing a whole bunch of healthy ingredients and good-for-you spices into a pot (kale, turkey, lentils, fennel, paprika) and serving  it up piping hot. It probably would have been good with the parmesan bread on the side, but at  least I saved a couple of carbs.

Prep is fairly simple and if you want to turn this one out fast, you can use store-bought Italian turkey sausage like I did. But we’ve also included Chef Brian’s Italian turkey sausage recipe in the post in case you have the time. I didn’t when I was able to cook this particular time, but I’m going  to come up with a different way to use the recipe just so I can try it.

Here’s Week 31, Meal 1: Italian turkey sausage, kale, lentil and tomato soup with parmesan croutons.

The Recipe (Yield: 4 servings)

Soup
1 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. Italian turkey sausage, casing removed (if you want to make it fresh, Chef Brian’s recipe is at the bottom of this post)
1 T fennel seed, toasted and ground
2 t paprika
1/3 c black lentils (I couldn’t find black, so I went green–Sorry, Chef!)
4 roma tomatoes, cut into 1/8s
4 c chicken stock
1/2 bunch Tuscan kale (black kale), stems removed and cut into 1/4-inch strips
salt and pepper, to taste

Croutons
2 oz. piece of baguette, cut or torn into 1/2-inch pieces
1 T olive oil
1/2 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (preferably with a microplane grater)
salt and pepper, to taste

Start by forming the turkey sausage into chunks. Set aside and get let’s get going on the soup!

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add yellow onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it softens.

Add the turkey sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring gently so as not to break  up the chunks.

Add fennel seed, paprika and lentils, stir gently until well combined.

Add tomatoes, stir gently and cover. Lower the heat to medium and cook the tomatoes for 3-4 minutes, until softened.

Add chicken stock, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once the boil starts, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.

The last step is pictured at the top of this post: Add the kale, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the kale has wilted.

To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees; In a bowl, mix baguette pieces with olive oil and grated cheese. Toss well; Bake for 5-10 minutes, until croutons are golden brown; season with salt and pepper.

To plate: Pour about 2 cups of soup into a bowl and top with a few croutons for some crunch.

And if you want to make the sausage …

Chef Brian’s Italian turkey sausage
12 oz. ground turkey (93/7 ratio Jenny-o works best)
2 t paprika
2 t fennel seed, toasted and ground
2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
7 cloves roasted garlic, chopped/smashed (If you don’t want to roast your own, you can find it at Whole Foods or Ralph’s in the olive bar)
3 T basil, chopped

-In a food processor, pulse until all ingredients are well-combined.

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