Recipe for lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemon and garlic chicken sausage
The cookbooks of Paula Wolfert, the doyenne of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, inspired the combination of ingredients in this hearty soup, and a week of perfect Fall weather, with warm days and cool nights, put me in the mood for the earthy flavor and texture of lentils. Use any type of lentils: brown, black, green, large or small. The ingredient that takes this soup to a higher level is preserved lemon, a type of pickle that's been cured in salty brine. It sounds exotic, but it's very easy to make preserved lemons at home or buy online. Preserved lemon tastes a bit like capers, with a floral acidity. If you don't have it, don't substitute fresh lemons or lemon zest; just leave it out. I used Al Fresco brand chicken sausage, which my local supermarket carries, but any garlic or sun-dried tomato sausage would work well.
Lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemon and garlic chicken sausage
To make this soup in a slow cooker, brown the onions and sausage in a frying pan. Add them to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Serves 6 as a main course soup, with salad and crusty bread on the side.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
12 oz roasted garlic chicken sausage, cut in half lengthwise, then cut across into 1/4-inch moons
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
9 cups stock (I use homemade rotisserie chicken stock, but use any type of stock you have, or water)
1 Tbsp soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 Tbsp minced preserved lemon rind
1 Tbsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste
Kosher salt, if needed, to taste
In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sausage, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage is lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, and cook for an additional 1 minute.
Add the lentils and brown rice to the pot along with the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 1 hour, until the rice is tender.
Uncover, and stir in soy sauce, preserved lemon rind, and black pepper. If the soup is too thick, add water, one cup at a time, to achieve the consistency you prefer. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt (I usually put in lots of black pepper, and don't add salt at all. If you've used store-bought stock, please taste before adding salt at all.).
Serve hot, or allow to cool completely and freeze for up to six months. When you are ready to reheat, you'll probably have to add water or more stock, as the lentils and rice will absorb every bit of liquid you give them.