Lentil & Kielbasa Soup
- 1 lb dried brown lentils
- 1 bulb fennel, chopped
- 1 bunch kale torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 10 cups beef stock
- 1 lb beef kielbasa, sliced into coins and browned if desired
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- Place all ingredients in a 4 (it will be very, very full!) or 6-quart slow cooker.. Stir. Cook on low for 8-10 hrs. Fish out the bay leaves and serve.
I don’t know how I ended up with a bag of lentils but I did and had to use them. I think I picked them up on a whim after seeing pictures of lentil soup and realizing I don’t think I’ve ever actually had lentil soup? We weren’t a homemade soup family growing up and we sure never ate lentils. I’ve had them a fair amount as an adult but when I’m cooking for myself, I favor beluga or du Puy lentils which hold their shape (you can see my other lentil recipes here). I especially like the beluga lentils I buy at Target or Aldi that are par-cooked and only need to be refreshed in a skillet for literally a minute.
So what to do with these brown ones? Since I don’t think I had lentil soup before I thought I might as well try that. Slow cooker soups are really great for autumn nights and require such little effort yet yield really good results. I did brown a sausage first because– I might be fooling myself here–I do think it tastes a tiny bit better. Same with bay leaves. But you can skip the browning and just toss it all in if you want. It doesn’t make that much of a difference.
I tossed in a ton of veggies because that sounded like what lentil soup should have. In retrospect, maybe lentil soup is plainer? I checked out the canned versions recently and they seemed pretty anemic, ironically, just lentils, broth, and celery. I’m sure this soup is a lot better than that! The sausage adds some heft and of course flavor as do the vegetables. I like my soups with a lot of different textures and this one certainly delivers!