After making a good pork roast it’s always great to use the leftovers in a soup. A great way to use the bone from a pork shoulder (or ham hock) is making pea soup. A few years ago I visited New Orleans and I was taken with the flavors they used in their soups and seafood so I decided to try a creole inspired pea soup. I started with a base of onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, and carrots which sauteed in butter until soft. Then I added some creole spices like thyme, sage, oregano, paprika, dried sassafras, and cayenne pepper. The andouille sausage was my favorite twist on the traditional pea soup. The sausage was delicious and had great sweet and spicy flavors.
I wanted to kick off October with a good fall soup and lentil stew is a perfect fall and winter dish that is both hardy and healthy. I had never tried cooking Italian sausage in a soup before and I was happy with the results. The sausage became very tender through the slow cooking process. This stew is simply seasoned with bay, oregano, and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar gives a nice depth of flavor and the acidity is very nice. The recipe could be prepared over the stove in a sauce pot instead of a slow cooker, just cook it for 2-3 hours on low. The spiciness of the sausage flavored the broth wonderfully and all this soup really needs is a thick crusted bread to accompany it.
This is one of those meals where all the flavors perfectly compliment each other. The peppers and onions are sweet and a little spicy, as is the sausage, while the roasted potatoes provide a counterpoint to the spicier flavors. The key to this dish is to get quality italian sausage, preferably on the spicy side. If it says grass fed/free range on the label the quality will likely be a bit better.