Gingered lentil soup with kielbasa is a meal in a cup or bowl. While hearty it is not heavy and a little will go a long way in keeping the hunger pangs away if you are going to have a busy, no time for dinner evening. I have not always used ginger, but find it adds spark to the soup--a little goes a long way.
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, strings removed and coarsely chopped
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
8 ounces dry lentils, brown or red
6 cups vegetable stock, unsalted*
¾ link of kielbasa, cut into thin slices
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 teaspoon fresh lime juice (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Add grated ginger and cumin seeds, saute on low heat until the seeds turn a dark brown. Watch carefully so this mixture does not burn. The cumin seeds will turn dark when ready.
Add chopped carrots, celery and onion to mixture, stir and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. You want the carrots and onion to soften and wilt from the moisture. Add vegetable stock, lentils and sliced kielbasa. Turn heat up to medium high to bring lentil mix to a low boil. Lower heat and simmer covered for 30 to 40 minutes. Then add grated ginger and spinach leaves. Stir occasionally to keep mixture from sticking. Start checking lentils for doneness when they have been cooking for 25 minutes or so. Unlike black eyed peas or other beans lentils are quick cooking and do not need soaking.
Taste soup and add salt and pepper if needed. If adding lime juice add just before serving.
Makes about 6 servings.
* 1 cup (8 ounces) of dry lentils will make approximately 3 cups of cooked lentils.
* Have one or two extra cups of vegetable stock, in case soup is too thick for your liking. If necessary add more vegetable stock when lentils are almost done.