A hearty campfire soup

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This disturbingly chilly London Spring day has got me thinking about a fabulous soup I made earlier in the year. You know, when temperatures are actually allowed to be this low. It’s warming camping fare and is a fabulous way of getting sausages out of the way (anyone else tired of BBQ sausages when camping?). Best of all it makes an awesome ready-to-go first night meal when the tent is unpacked, the air-bed pumped up, the light is fading and, seriously, if you had to do one more thing…

I saw this on Smitten Kitchen. It’s Deb Perelman’s lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic, and I haven’t changed much.

Here’s the what:

1/4 cup of olive oil; 3 or 4 of your favourite flavoured sausages, casings removed (I like The Ginger Pig’s Classic Italian with pork, garlic and fennel seeds); 1 medium onion, chopped; 2 celery stalks, chopped; 2 carrots, chopped; 4 cloves garlic; Maldon Sea Salt; as many sprinkles of chilli flakes as you like; 1 cup of puy lentils, rinsed; 2 bay leaves; 2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes; 6 cups of water; 3 to 4 cups of thinly chopped kale and spinach; grated pecorino, parmesan or cheddar (whatever you’ve brought with you).

Here’s the how:

Heat half the olive oil in a large pot on a medium heat. Add the sausage and break it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown. Add the onion, celery, carrots, four garlic cloves, a pinch of salt and chilli flakes. Cook all this until the vegetables start to soften, around 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender (20 to 25 minutes) and feel free to add more water if it’s all thickening too much.

If you’re taking this soup camping, this is when to cool or freeze it in a ziplock bag, ready to go. Pop your chopped kale and spinach in a separate ziplock bag and cool in the fridge until you leave. When you’re ready to eat, simply heat up the soup over a campfire or camping stove. When hot, throw in the kale and spinach and cook until they are just soft. Serve and grate your cheese over the top. Deb Perelman also pours over chopped garlic sizzling in oil, which is a delicious addition if you can muster the energy.

You could make this to eat at home. No one said you had to be camping…

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