22 May 2012

Random Recipe - First or Last ?

This month Dom has challenged us to randomly pick a cookbook and decide whether to make the very first or the very last recipe in said book. Well, THAT'S fun! We get to choose this month!

My random cook book is one that is a recent addition to the collection. It's called Farmstead Chef and it has a mish mash of recipes that revolve around homesteading and agricultural advocacy - that is, families on small farms and in residential settings that use their homes and acreage for producing their own foods and supporting the local farmers that supplement with their fresh and local produce. The key here is homemade, preserved, less processed and more fresh and local meats and produce, and making the process of mealtimes a family affair. The authors are enthusiastic and fun-loving and the recipes reflect that ... the book has everything from homemade play dough and homemade cocoa mix for the kids to  Rhubarb Cordial and Creamy Leek Pastries for the more sophisticated palate ... it's a good little cookbook.

I chose to make the last recipe in the book - Lentil and Polish Sausage Soup. It's been a chilly cloudy day here and I have a big loaf of multigrain bread and a chunk of Cheddar that would sit nicely beside a big hot bowl of soup.

This soup was included in the cookbook because it is one that the cookbook authors have had at a community soup night, hosted by their friends. They loved it so much that they included it in the book. It all begins with a big mess of leeks, onions, and carrots frying in some olive oil to a soft golden mass.

While the onions et al. cook down a bit, the lentils and spices get measured and a big jug of chicken broth gets heated. A few red potatoes gets scrubbed and diced into small pieces. A link of kielbasa Polish sausage gets cut into coins and a few stripes of bacon get a fry up. Then, the broth gets added to the vegetables, the lentils and potatoes go into the broth and the soup gets covered and simmered until the potatoes and lentils are soft. Half the mass gets pureed in the blender and put back in the soup. While the soup comes back up to heat, the bacon gets crumbled and set aside as a garnish and the pork gets seared in the bacon fat until it has a bit of a crunchy outer edge on each side of the coins. Then the sausage goes into the soup to flavour things up even more and the soup is simmered for 30 minutes or so. Voila! Lunch!

And before you know it ... it's gone and you're thinking about another bowl! Go ahead, this batch makes six hearty servings! There's plenty left!

Lentil and Polish Sausage Soup
a Farmstead Chef recipe


2 large leeks, washed and sliced, whites and part of the light green section
1 large Vidalia onion, halved length-wise and sliced thinly into half moons
2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 c. red potatoes, scrubbed and diced medium
2 ½ c. lentils
8 c. chicken stock
1 ½ tsp. caraway seed
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
4 slices bacon, fried crisp, crumbled and used as garnish
3 smoked links Polish sausage or one large round of Polish kielbasa (1 lb -1 ¼  lbs)
 Making the Soup:

  1. Place the olive oil in a large deep soup pot and bring the heat up under it.
  2. Add the leeks, onions, and carrots and sauté until the onions and leeks become golden and limp.
  3. Add the garlic and push it to the bottom of the pot, cooking it for one minute. Add some of the stock and stir the garlic through the vegetable mass.
  4. Stir in the potatoes and lentils.
  5. Add the rest of the chicken stock, the spices and herb.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil and then, cover and lower the heat to a simmer, letting the potatoes and lentils cook gently.
  7. In a large frypan, fry the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  8. Slice the sausage into coins about ½ inch thick and fry them in the bacon drippings until they are browned and a bit crisp on both sides of the coins.
  9. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and pop them into the soup.
  10. Let the soup continue cooking until the lentils are very soft.
  11. Remove half the soup (but none of the sausage coins) to a blender bowl. Whiz the soup until it is smooth. Return the purée to the soup, stirring to incorporate and thicken the soup.
  12. Place about a cup and a half in a soup bowl and crumble some bacon over the top. Serve with some good bread and cheese and a hearty red wine.


  1. sometimes I love this challenge so much... what an excellent cook book and to throw up such a wonderful hearty and healthy soup... I love it... I love the picture with the big chunk of cheddar bitten out... that's the way to eat cheese!!... thanks so much for taking part, always such an honour to have you play along x

    1. Ha! No little mouse nibbles for me! I'm a great believer in chomping right down on a good Cheddar!

  2. I love love your photos; with that little bite of cheese someone enjoyed and then teh empty bowl. Perfection!

  3. I'm not a big fan of lentils, but I love the idea of picking a cookbook and doing the first or last recipe. I'll have to close my eyes and pick from the vast collection on my shelves.

    1. Linda! I think you should join us at Dom's monthly blogshare! He is such a dear and always does such a great job of acknowledging everyone's efforts! You have until the second to the last day of the month! Just click the link in my sidebar for Belleau Kitchen and check out his first post of the month to see just how to join in!

  4. I would love a bowl of this for supper. Lentils are so filling and so good for you too. I bet the crispy bacon was delicious.

  5. This sounds like a properly filling, deliciously savoury soup. I could do with a few bowls - I'm feeling hungry.

  6. What a lovely bowl of soup - always on the look out for a new twist. Love those bowls.

  7. This looks sooooo good! I've totalled up about a year living in Poland in a few chunks, and they do have some fantastic soups, which I'm now reminiscing about fondly - thanks for reminding me!


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