Out of season

Dinner:  June 5, 2008

Where did our June weather go? After a stretch of mostly sunny, beautiful and warm days, we woke to grey, gloomy and COLD. How am I supposed to play with light, bright springtime flavors when all I want to do is curl up under blankets with a mug of tea to get the chill out of my bones? I really must protest.

My crankiness about the weather aside, soup is often the first thing I think of making on damp, rainy days, and I suppose I could have gone with an elegant, light puree of peas or asparagus, but I wanted something a little heartier. Not winter-strength hearty, but a soup with a little more heft.

I rummaged through the fridge and pantry and came up with a pound of chicken and red pepper sausage, roasted red pepper strips with garlic and herbs in olive oil, some of my homemade chicken stock, canned tomatoes and a box of Puy lentils. I removed the sausage from its casings and crumbled it into my soup pot with a little bit of olive oil to brown while I chopped up an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. Those went into the pot next, along with the roasted peppers and a generous dollop of harissa paste for some heat. Once everything was nicely toasty, I added the tomatoes (half of a large can, plus juices), stock, and a cup of the lentils, lidded up the pan and let it cook away until the lentils were tender. I adjusted the seasoning and tossed in a couple of handfuls of another kitchen staple – some frozen chopped spinach.

While the soup cooked I sliced a couple of thick pieces of the sourdough loaf Mike baked yesterday and re-warmed them in the oven. (I’ll let him go into more depth about the bread if he wants to – but trust me when I say it’s pretty awesome to come home from work and walk directly into a kitchen filled with the smell of bread baking, and sharing the first slice still warm from the oven is pretty freaking amazing. I think we’ve eaten half of the loaf already. It’s delicious and I am, as ever, a lucky girl.)

This soup was a winner with its light and savory broth, the lentils and spinach providing a little earthiness, and the sausage lending a satisfying meatiness. The heat of the harissa was definitely present, but it was more of an overall warmth in each spoonful rather than a knock-you-over-the-head pepperiness. This was not the most seasonal dinner, but I can see us coming back to this in September and October, when autumn’s chill is in the air and we’ve got an abundance of late-season, home-roasted peppers.

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4 thoughts on “Out of season

  1. We are in the middle of winter here in South Africa and this would be delicious for Saturday rugby weather. Beautiful photos too.

  2. Laura Grace says:

    Gorgeous!! This looks so appealing right now — I’m in Australia at the moment, and the short days and cold weather just demand hearty stews like this. Mmmm…

  3. Sara says:

    This isn’t quite relevant to this post, but I made onion rings last night using your method (including the Sriracha) and they were pronounced “best onion rings ever eaten” by my date. :)

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