Baby, It's Wet Outside

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside… When we moved to California, I realized I had to change the lyrics to suit our new winter weather. Blizzards were replaced by heavy rains, sometimes for days on end. Call me naïve, but I used…

Baby, It's Wet Outside

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside…

When we moved to California, I realized I had to change the lyrics to suit our new winter weather. Blizzards were replaced by heavy rains, sometimes for days on end. Call me naïve, but I used to think that wet winters were reserved for places like Seattle and Portland.

Instead of snowboots, I wear my rainboots all winter, and we’ve certainly gotten our fair share of rainy stretches already. The sun cleared yesterday, but I know it’s temporary. Tomorrow will be the start of a long weekend of rain, rain, and more rain. Sometimes I feel like Noah, snug in this house with the kids and our furry family – we have sets of cats, hamsters, and one dog. We will emerge in the spring (thankfully, spring arrives early here).

These wet and cold days call for soup, and I can’t seem to get enough. One of my favorites for this time of year is Ina Garten’s Lentil Sausage Soup from her Barefoot in Paris cookbook.

Given that lentils have been enjoyed since biblical times, I like to imagine that Noah and his ark’s passengers must have relied on them to carry them through the flood. I’m sure they would love Ina’s soup. The French Lentils du Puy are a dainty variety, with a beautiful, speckled mossy green seed coat. Highly nutritious and hearty, this Lentil Sausage Soup is exceedingly soothing, perfect to eat when the wind is howling and the rain (or snow) is pouring. Be it Noah in his ark, Ina in her fabulous French apartment, or you and I in our cozy kitchens, this is just right for getting through any storm.

Lentil Sausage Soup

Slightly adapted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home, by Ina Garten. The original recipe can be found on Barefoot Contessa and Food Network. Ina Garten’s recipe calls for red wine or red wine vinegar* however, several years ago, I encountered a version somewhere that used balsamic vinegar. I wish I had noted at the time the source of this adaptation so that I may cite it. In any case, I love the depth of flavor the balsamic vinegar adds to the dish.

Serves 6-8.

  • 1 cup French lentils (du Puy)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 leek, rinsed, quartered and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz kielbasa, cut in thirds lengthwise, then into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar*
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

In a bowl, soak lentils in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse, set aside.

In a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme until the onions are translucent, about 10-15 minutes. Add celery and carrots and saute about 10 minutes more. Add chicken stock, tomatoes (and can juices) and lentils. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer partially uncovered until lentils are tender (between 1/2 hour to an hour). Season as desired with salt and pepper. Add kielbasa and balsamic vinegar and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


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  1. aanrechtblad

    Its wonderful blog really very nice site and blog facility.every title is very nice and very fatastic concept. Thanks for sharing the information.

  2. Cristina @ TeenieCakes

    That sure is a beautiful soup, Liren. My Mom makes an amazing lentil soup too…she uses stewing meat as part of the base/stock and it’s really one of my childhood comfort foods. I’ve only made a couple of times…I think I’ve forgotten how, now.

    I like the recipe you’ve featured and the use of leeks. I’m going to have to check out that cookbook. Wish I had a big pot of this right now.

  3. Jackie

    Well if you made this for me when it was cold/wet outside there’d be no getting rid of me ;)

    Have I mentioned how much I love Ina Garten, before? I love that you’ve adapted this from her, it just proves to me that you are officially one of my Food Heroes.

    Jax x

    • Liren

      You’re too kind, Jackie! Ina is definitely, absolutely one of my food heroes, too. Just love her calm demeanor and her recipes are always on point!

  4. Boulder Locavore

    What is more delicious than a bowl of lentil soup! I could eat soup for every meal all winter long. This recipe sounds delicous with a lovely texture and flavor I’m sure. Can’t wait to make it!

  5. Debi(Table Talk)

    Well, it’s definitely cold outside here, and a big bowl of this comforting soup is exactly what we need to take away the winter chill.
    Great pics-

  6. Chef Dennis

    what a hearty bowl of soup! I love lentils and my girls have really been enjoying them lately, I have been making them vegetarian, but each time I make lentil soup, I want so bad to add some meat to it!! Your sausage lentil was such a wonderful idea, and baby its cold out here, we could certainly use it to fight our 22 degree weather!

  7. Monet

    We adore lentils. I imagine that the sausage adds a wonderful flavor and saltiness to this dish. I’m wanting a big bowl right now! It has been warm and dry here in Austin, but I’ve heard that come January we start to get quite a few showers. I need a pair of rainboots ASAP! Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you have a relaxing Sunday.

    • Liren

      Brian, it’s time to break out the lentils! This weather is just begging for them.

  8. Roxan

    That’s so cute…. Those on noah’s ark would definitely have loved this soup! This soup looks amazing, and I could DEFINITELY go for some of that this weekend. I am heading up to Mammoth in a few hours and we are expecting 5 feet of snow this weekend!

    • Liren

      Roxan, you lucky duck! I hope you had a wonderful time in Mammoth!

  9. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels

    I have been dying to make this soup ever since I bought Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris book years ago. But I never got around to it. After seeing your delicious and gorgeous soup, i just have to make it. Everything you make looks incredible!! :)

    • Liren

      I just love Ina and this cookbook. All her recipes seem well tested, I never have to doubt her. This soup is no different, I know you’ll love it!

  10. Felice

    This looks so good. I have a couple of vegetarians in my family so I might try this both ways – with the sausage and chicken stock and then with a few substitutions.

  11. Chelsie

    I just made a sausage lentil soup this week too. What a way to warm the insides even when it is snowy (or rainy) outside.

    -your new foodbuzz friend.

    • Liren

      Hi Chelsie! Thanks for stopping by and your sweet comment – glad to meet a new Foodbuzz friend!

    • Liren

      Valerie, you made me laugh! True, lentil soup isn’t always photogenic :)

  12. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    One of my favorite romantic holiday songs – I love the Dolly Parton/Rod Stewart version. And, your soup is rustic, warm, and comforting for a night around the fire with your honey (s)! Stay warm and dry – we’re actually getting rain here in SoCal, too.

    • Liren

      Hi Priscilla – yes I hear that you guys down South have gotten lots of rain too, and your mountains perhaps more snow than ours! Hope you’re staying close to a warm fire!

  13. fooddreamer

    Hey, baby it’s wet outside works. Whatever you need to do or say to make a gorgeous soup like this!

  14. Jun Belen

    Beautiful lentils! It just started to rain again tonight and I think it’ll be raining through Sunday… sigh! But this lentil soup will be perfect for those cold, wet, winter days!

    By the way, would the green or yellow lentils work too?

    • Liren

      Can you believe it’s still raining, Jun? Yes, I do believe that green and yellow lentils would work very nicely in this soup, too. It may end up a little thicker, which is fine, or you can add more chicken broth if you wish!

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