The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 10.02.06


Grab a large spoon and dig in

Have you exchanged your sandals and flip-flops for sturdy shoes? Have the t-shirts and shorts been replaced with pants and sweaters in your closet yet? Many household rituals of preparation for the impending winter are in full swing and, while we may be in denial, you can bet that winter will indeed arrive. We live in Canada, after all, and frosty windows are on the horizon.

Despite the fact that I dread the departure of summer and the waning of daylight hours, I honestly look forward to enjoying a myriad of autumn food offerings. Soups and stews, pies and pickles, oven and pot roasts, root vegetables and crisp fruits just would not taste the same in summer, would they?

Perhaps my favorite food at this time of year is a hearty soup. Whether you prepare one using any of the in- season harvest vegetables or dried legumes such as beans, peas, or lentils, the smoky addition of ham, bacon ,or sausage can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

A chunk or slice of warmed crusty bread served on the side for sloppy dunking will make you happy that fall has arrived after all. Tie a cloth napkin around your neck, grab a large spoon, and dig in.

Lentil & Smoked Sausage Soup with Kale

A 5-inch piece smoked kielbasa, sliced thin
2 teaspoons vegetable oil if necessary
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 small onion, sliced thin
1 cup lentils, picked over
3 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
1 small bunch of kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves sliced thin (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons balsamic or red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy soup pot, brown sausage over medium heat, and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 2 teaspoons of the sausage fat in the bottom of the soup pot. If there is less, add enough oil to measure 2 teaspoons fat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened.

Add the lentils, water, broth, and the sausage and simmer, covered, 40 minutes. Add the kale and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the vinegar then salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 6 cups. Prep time: 45 minutes to 1 hour