Lentil. Do you know what that is? I have heard of lentil, but never had them before. I don’t think when we were growing up, they had lentils in Indonesia. I could be wrong and did not know that they existed then because we were just not exposed to lentils. Well, lentils are part of the legume family and the name lentil is derived from the word “lens” in Latin, which means the optic lens. Lentils are shaped like lens, round. To me, it is like flattened peas, mini green/brown disks. The diameter is probably about half a centimeter, so they are tiny. The ones I got were green/brown dried lentils from Wal-Mart. It was very inexpensive, and it has a lot of protein and fiber, which is very suitable for a vegetarian diet. Not that I’m heading toward becoming a vegetarian… I don’t mind eating vegetarian once a while, but I don’t think I can completely give up beefy steak, porky pork, yummy chicken, and all the other good stuff… I am after all built as an omnivore, it is in my genes. Trust me…
So! Hubby found this recipe from Salon.com, for which the recipe really doesn’t take a lot of exquisite ingredients. In fact, it was pretty simple. Celery, carrot, onions, typical vegetables used in any kind of soup. Noticed that this time I already have them all chopped up and ready to go. I was worried about the amount of celery… but the recipe only called for a stalk. So… that’s what I got. Garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and Herbs de Provence… Now, this is a fancy schmancy herbs here. I’ll talk about it below. Then we need the chicken stock, smoked sausage, smoked pork chops, and lentils themself.
Now, Herbs de Provence (HdP). HdP is a mixture of dried herbs, which was in invented in Provence, Southeasten French in the 1970s. This region is known for its herbs, and major spice companies took this opportunity to make the mixture and have it readily available for their customers. I said it is fancy since Super Wal-Mart doesn’t carry it. When I could not locate this herb mixture, I googled my gadget to see what’s in this HdP, and perhaps I can make it myself. Well, I found this site that has the recipe, and I decided against making it myself. Anyway, I ended up sending off Hubby to the big HEB and he found it there.
Well, first things first. The recipe called for smoked pork chops, so Hubby went the extra mile and smoked the pork chops outside on the smoker. He just put about three pork chops into a aluminum pan. Why three? It was because I froze them that way… Also, 2 pieces were not quite a pound, and three pieces were a little bit more than a pound…
Then Hubby put the pork chops on the smoker and smoked them for about 3 hours at 225F to 250F.
Smokey pork chops… They looked really good, even though there wasn’t any seasoning on them… At this time, I was just finishing eating some Fritos and licked my fingers, and Hubby though that I couldn’t contain myself and just to had a lick! Ha!!
The lentils bag indicates that “Before cooking always examine, sort and rinse well.” So I opened up the bag and poured the lentils out and sorted them. I remember when we cooked the pinto beans, during sorting I found all sort of foreign material, like rocks, dead bugs… ewww!!!
So when I was done, it wasn’t that bad. From a pound of lentils, I only found these few to be bad lentils.
So then I rinsed the lentils and drained them in the colander.
Meanwhile Hubby started slicing half of the sausages.
Then after that, he quartered the sausage so that he got some bite size pieces.
First step was browning the sausage in olive oil…
Then the onion was added…
Mixed them all up…
In the meanwhile, I heated up eight cups of the chicken stock. Note that most of the chicken stock I used was a homemade chicken stock, made out of smoked chicken carcasses. So the stock itself was smoky already.
Two bay leaves and a tablespoon of the herbs were added to the pot.
Then we dumped the veggie and sausage mix into the pot… I just noticed as I was looking at the picture, the herbs somehow didn’t get disturb by any of the veggies and sausages!
At this point also, the lentils were added to the pot. You can’t see them in the picture because they all sunk to the bottom of the pot. We stirred them up and let them simmer for about 45 minutes.
Then I started working on the pork chops. I separated the bones from the meat and then cut them up into bite size pieces.
Dumped them into the pot…
Added the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock, stirred them up again and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.
We served the lentils soup into a bowl, alongside with a house salad…
It was a hearty meal, perfect for cold weather soup! I just now remember that we even did not put the salt in there! It did not need any salt with so much flavors going on there.
The richness of the sausages, the tenderness and smokiness of the pork chops, the aroma of the herbs, mingled with the smokiness of the soup… it was a very satisfying meal. Who can complain when your tummy is warm during this cold winter? Bon appetite!
Print recipe here.
Smoky Lentil Soup
Recipe from Salon.com
2 TB oil
1/2 pound smoked sausage, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cups carrots, diced
2 bay leaves
1 TB Herbs de Provence
10 cups chicken stock
16 oz. bag of dried lentils
1 pound boneless smoked pork chops, cut into bite size 1/2 – 3/4 inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1.) In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots and cook until soft and translucent about 8 minutes.
2.) Add bay leaves, Herbes de Provence, 8 cups of chicken stock, and lentils. Bring to boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to simmer, and cook partially covered, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.
3.) Remove lid, and add pork chops and remaining 2 cups of water. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender and the soup has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.