Baby, I’m-a want you.
The soup winner: smoky lentil soup with andouille and spinach, a riff on Farmgirl Fare’s lentil soup with smoked sausage. While not as photogenic as hers, it tastes fantastic and will be a great lunch tomorrow, which looks to be a prime soup day (wintry, wet, cold). It comes together really quickly and makes the house smell great, assuming you like your house to smell like smoked paprika.
Smoky Lentil Soup with Andouille and Spinach
1-2 tbsp light olive or canola oil
2 links andouille sausage (If you can’t find andouille, sub in the sausage of your choosing, or leave sausage out altogether. Which would be a travesty, but you could do it and it will still taste good. I guess.)
2 medium carrots, diced
1 big ol’ onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and then diced
5 cups chicken stock, water, or a combo of the two (Stock tastes better. Stock from a box is fine.)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatos
1 cup lentils of your choosing
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 10 oz. package of frozen spinach
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and throw in the andouille which you have diced. Cook for a few minutes to crisp the sausage up a bit and render out some of the fat, then remove the andouille from the pan with a slotted spoon. Keeping the pot on the heat, toss in the carrot and onion and saute 4-5 minutes; throw in the garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add a bit more oil if things are sticking.
Pour in the tomatoes and stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan; add the lentils, stir, and leave the pot on the stove to simmer, lid half-cocked. After about 2 minutes, stir in the paprika and cumin and salt & pepper to taste, then simmer another 20 or 30 minutes until everything is nice and tender.
Use an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor to blend about half the soup so you have a mix of textures (you can puree it all if you want, or puree none). Put the andouille back in and add the frozen spinach, and cook until the frozen spinach block breaks up and the sausage is heated through.