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Author Notes: I love the richness of gumbo, a roux-based soup. It is hearty and comforting cold weather fare. Gumbo commonly uses okra or filé powder as a thickener. I decided to use some red lentils instead, and was quite pleased with the result. I had an orange bell pepper on hand so used it in the "trinity." I added lacinato kale to add some contrast in color and texture. I prefer to make my roux in the oven (soooo easy), but feel free to do it on the stove-top if you'd like.
It makes a great hearty meal for a casual get-together, and tastes even better if made the day before. That leaves only rewarming and making some rice (and a pan of cornbread with whipped honey butter if you're so inclined). This soup is like love in a bowl, so it should definitely be shared! - hardlikearmour
Serves 6 to 8
- 3 ounces diced bacon (or pancetta)
- vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1 medium onion
- 1 bell pepper (color of your choice)
- 2 ribs celery
- 3 medium cloves garlic
- 1 & 1/2 pound Andouille sausage (or other smoked sausage)
- 1 cup red or yellow lentils (split and skinned style lentils)
- 1 bunch lacinato kale
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning (plus more to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Sauté bacon in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or other oven safe skillet) until browned and crisped, then strain through mesh strainer collecting the fat. Place bacon in the fridge. It will be added to the gumbo later. Wipe out the skillet well. Strain the collected fat into a liquid measuring cup, using a very fine strainer or some cheesecloth. Add vegetable oil to the pancetta fat to get 1/3 cup total.
- Place the fat and flour into the cast iron skillet, and mix together. Bake in the oven for about 90 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, until you have a dark roux. It should look similar to melted chocolate.
- While the roux is cooking, do your prep: Dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery, then combine them in a bowl. Mince or press the garlic. Slice your sausage on the bias. Pick over and rinse the lentils well. Wash, derib, and coarsely chop your kale.
- Once your roux is done, place the skillet on a burner, and add your onions, bell pepper, and celery. Heat over medium to medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until veggies are softened. Stir in your garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Transfer your roux and veggies to a 4 to 6 quart stock pot. Use 1 to 2 cups of your stock to deglaze the skillet, then mix with the veggies in the stock pot. Add the rest of your stock, the bay leaf, thyme, allspice, and creole seasoning to the stock pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Brown your sausage in the now empty skillet. Add sausage to the stock pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add your lentils. Simmer for 30 minutes, your lentils should be soft & starting to fall apart. Add your kale; you will need to stir this a bit to get all of the kale wilted. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the bacon. Taste for seasoning, and add creole seasoning, salt, and pepper as needed.
- Serve over long-grain white rice with Louisiana hot sauce as a condiment.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dinner That Makes a Good Lunch
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Autumn Soup
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cheap Feast
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Lentils