Its sad to see it fall from the number one spot on the site, but it must be done; the bacon must be ousted from its perch a top the chronological post listing and make way for the new.  Thankfully I left something legendary there when I went on an unplanned sabbatical, life just got to busy and my diet tanked.  Thankfully for my health and my free time, life has gotten a little less hectic and cooking has once again commenced.  Not that we weren’t cooking before it was just not note worthy.

A couple weeks ago the local grocer had chicken sausage on sale and what was I to do but scoop some up.  Since then it has been sitting in my freezer waiting to be used, well last night was its time.  We are past due for fresh soup in this home and so into some soup it went.

Lentil and Chicken Sausage Soup

Last night I got everything ready and threw it in the slow cooker in the refrigerator except for the lentils which I added this morning when I pulled it out and turned it on.  My goal being the only one here for dinner was to write this while eating a bowl of the soup, in order to provide an honest review.  Well I have eaten two bowls and have not managed to write a bit of a post.  It doesn’t help that I came home from work famished, but it was a pretty tasty batch of soup.

I had mine just garnished with a handful of freshly ground parmesan cheese, had my wife been here she surely would have added sour cream to make it creamy and cilantro to make it more complex.  Call me simple but I am going to stand by just the parmesan for this one.  You will have to let me know which way you prefer when you make it for yourself.

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Ahh fall is here, with the cool weather here starts the beginning of our soup season here in the Elston home.  Soup is a handy go to dish when our schedules get packed and we need something in a hurry.  We try to make a soup or two every week for a few weeks and we never eat it all at once, so we freeze it and from there we have weeks and weeks where a couple of our meals will be quick and easy and consist of a sandwich and soup or just bread, butter and soup.  We like soup.

 Kielbasa and Kale Soup with Beans

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb kielbasa, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 c chicken broth
2 c stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
2 c water
8 oz kale, stemmed and sliced
3/4 lb red skin potatoes, cubed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp smoked salt
1/4 tsp ground chipotle

Pour oil in stock pot and place on burner over medium heat.  Add kielbasa slices and cook until browned and a little crispy.  Removed kielbasa and set aside.   Add onion and celery to the pot, cook until soft and semi translucent, add garlic cook for about a minute.  Add in kale, broth, stock, water and kielbasa.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until kale is wilted, about 10 minutes.  Add everything else except the beans.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add beans.  Cook until heated through.

If you don’t have any stock on hand, you can always substitute with broth.

This is a tasty soup, its going in the cookbook for a later rendition.

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Last weekend my wife came home with a leek, the biggest leek I have ever seen, and as soon as I saw it I knew what I would be cooking with it a favorite I have not had in quite some time until tonight.  Potato and Leek soup and after a little emergency last second seasoning, it came out quite nicely.

Creamy Potatoe and Leek Soup

3 Medium Cooking Potatoes peeled and finely chopped (I used my SlapChop)
1 Leek finely chopped, green and white parts only
12 oz chicken broth
2 tbsp margarine
1 1/2 c half and half
1/2 c milk
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp ground thyme
pepper and salt to taste
parsley for garnish

In a medium pot over medium heat cook potatoes with broth and garlic until tender (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally
Meanwhile in a separate skillet over medium heat, saute leeks in margarine until tender.  Transfer leeks to a food processor, add thyme, chop until uniform.
Combine leeks with potatoes in potato pan, add half and half, milk, salt, pepper and parsley, mix well over medium heat until heated through.

The soup was good on its own but we were also have sausage and stirred that in as well as a little cheese, it was delicious and I am looking forward to eating some more for lunch tomorrow.

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Every time I head out to Pantera Bread or Russ’ ( a local dutch shop ) I always end up getting the Cheese Broccoli soup so finally I decided to make my own, I gathered together a list of recipes online and concocted one uber recipe and here it is.

Emtpy bowl with spoon

You thought there would be something left?

1 tbsp butter or margarine (for sauteing onion)
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 c melted butter or margarine
1/4 c flour
1 qt half and half
1 qt chicken stock or broth
1 pound fresh broccoli (2 stalks in my case)
1 c carrot shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb grated sharp cheddar
nutmeg to taste (optional)

Saute onion in butter.  Set aside.  Whisk together melted butter and flour over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.  Add in half and half then chicken stock stirring constantly.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add in broccoli, carrots and onions.  Cook over low heat tell veggies are tender and soup has thickened, about 25 minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Optionally pour soup into blender in batches  to puree before adding cheese.

Add cheese and nutmeg stir until well blended.

Cheese Broccoli Soup

A word of caution my roux became volcanic when I turned my back on it for even a brief second, be careful not to turn the heat up to high.

Another note next time I will most likely be using 1/2 lb mild and a 1/2 lb sharp cheddar as the soup was a little sharp for my taste, but good none the less.

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