Monday, February 9, 2015

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Have you ever browsed through a yard sale and found an absolutely fantastic deal?  It’s happened to me several times…like this chair I bought for $15.   The seller explained that it belonged to her grandparents who lived in the Gem State of Idaho.  I couldn’t imagine why she was parting with a piece of family days-gone-by but I didn’t want to ask too many sentimental questions for fear she would change her mind.  I did ask, more than once, if she was sure she wanted to sell the heirloom.   Sometimes, our second-hand finds are free, or almost free, like the bookcase you can read about here and the cabinet you can read about here, both of which were lovingly transformed from trash into functional treasures.

This talk about yard sale finds is connected to our dinner last Wednesday.  I promise.

Mr. Architect bought C. a cookbook calledTrattoria Grappolo at a yard sale and the phenomenal Zuppa Di Lenticchie (Lentil and Sausage Soup) that she made on Wednesday was from that very $3 find.  When I write my posts, I like to do a little research.  I discovered the book is a collection of recipes from a bistro of the same name in Santa Ynez, California.  C. said that she loved her flea-market find because it’s filled with delicious, simple to prepare, go-to recipes and the reviews in the book -- from some very famous people -- concur.   One such star, who hosted the Oscars in a white suit and was responsible for staging a now-famous, star-studded selfie, said that the food was some of the “best she’s ever eaten.”  I agree... this soup was savory, stick-to-your-ribs-hearty and totally delicious.

The bistro’s chefs, the Calabrian-born Curti brothers, host many other celebrities who enjoy authentic Tuscan dishes such as Angel Hair with Fresh Tomato and Basil, Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbs and Grilled Lobster with Sage and Cannellini Beans.  And to keep everything in the nabe, each recipe suggests a local wine pairing. 

The next time I am in central California, I might just have to visit Trattoria Grappolo.

Assuming, of course, I can get a reservation.

Zuppa Di Lenticchie
(Lentil and Sausage Soup)
Trattoria Grappolo

1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 diced carrots
1 clove garlic, smashed
2-3 sausage links, out of casting and broken into pieces (C. used spicy chicken sausage)
1 pound lentils
6 to 8 cups of chicken stock
1 cup diced potato
1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped

In a stockpot, add the olive oil and heat on high.   Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and sausage.  Stir until vegetables are lightly golden, approximately 2 minutes.  Add the lentils and 6 cups of chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.  Cook for another 45-60 minutes.  Add remaining two cups of stock as needed.  Add potato and cook for another 10 minutes.  Add cilantro before serving.  Serve with crispy bread or rolls and a bright and fruity Pinot Noir. 

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