As the weather becomes permanently frigid and extremely ‘blah’ (how else can I describe it?) nothing seems more comforting than warm, hearty food, right? Admit that you’d love nothing more than to curl up in your jammies and indulge in a bowl of something warm and delicious. Some mac n’ cheese, chicken noodle soup…extra noodles!, or even a morning bowl of creamy oatmeal with apples and cinnamon. Mmmm. This time of year inspires me to get out my ‘comfort food’ recipes and get busy in the kitchen.
This week I felt like nothing more than soup. BUT, with a meat-eating husband, whose working out hard at the gym these days I might add (yep, lucky me, huge pipes!) I can’t let him suffer on vegetables soup alone! So this week’s Le Creucet delight was a hearty Lentil, Kale and Sausage soup…really more of a stew, with smoky spices, and sweet veggies, like parsnip, carrot, garlic and onion. Soup that ‘eats like a meal’ is the perfect dinner because it’s satisfying but also leaves room for dessert! Woo hoo!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away! And an apple made into Apple Crisp keeps a smile on everyone’s face 🙂 Apples, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter? Doesn’t get much better and I don’t mess around with a classic. I could ‘healthify it’ by substituting the brown sugar with coconut sugar, but for a treat that brings me back to my childhood I stick to what Mom would have done. To serve however is where you can keep it trim and not go over the edge in unnecessary calories. A dollop of thick Greek yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup works perfectly. Or, if you must, a little scoop of real ice cream or coconut milk ice cream (omg sooo good) works too.
Give yourself an hour to get both of these done. They aren’t difficult and make for some freezer-friendly leftovers.
Lentil, Kale and Sausage Soup
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large stalk celery, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 cup dried green or brown lentils
4 cups low-sodium Organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 cups water
2 Tbsp Organic white or yellow miso paste*
4 cups fresh chopped kale (stem removal optional)
2 cooked Organic pork or turkey sausages**
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Hot sauce (optional)
- Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, parsnip and garlic. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until starting to lightly brown, stirring often.
- Meanwhile cover lentils with water in a bowl, leaving 1 inch of water on top, and discard any that float to the very top. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Add cumin and paprika to onion mixture. Stir and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add drained lentils, broth, water and miso paste. Bring to a light boil and stir to make sure miso has dissolved.
- Add kale, submerging it completely in soup, stir and partially cover with a lid. Reduce heat to med-low and allow soup to simmer for at least 30 minutes and ideally up to 1 hour.
- A few minutes before serving add in slices of cooked sausage, or use as a garnish on top. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Offer hot sauce for serving, if you like. Serves 6-8.
*Look for Organic miso paste in your local grocery store (where the tofu is) or health food market.
**To cook sausages: fry in a cast-iron skillet until firm and cooked through, or grill. Allow to cool before slicing.
Apple Oatmeal Crisp
6-8 Courtland or Macintosh apples, peeled and sliced to 1/4”
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 cup whole flake oats
1/2 cup Spelt flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
Pinch sea salt
1/3 cup butter*
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl toss apple slices with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer apple mixture to an 8×8 baking dish, making sure to scrape out all the liquid, and set aside.
- In the same bowl stir together oats, flour, brown sugar and salt. *If butter is cold, use the large teeth of a box grater (aka cheese grater) to grate in butter. Use hands to mix in butter with oat mixture until it appears crumbly and butter seems evenly distributed. If butter is at room temperature use a fork to mix it into oat mixture. It will appear softer, more like a cookie dough, than crumbly.
- Sprinkle topping evenly over apple mixture, trying to cover all gaps. Press down lightly to make sure apples and topping make good contact.
- Bake in centre of the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until topping is nicely browned on top and apples are bubbling over the edges.
- Allow apple crisp to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. To reheat place in 350° oven for 10-12 minutes from room temperature or 15-20 minutes from fridge. Scoop out and serve with plain yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup, good quality vanilla ice cream or coconut ice cream. Serves 6.