Slow Cooker Lentil Soup With Sausage and Apples
This simple slow cooker lentil soup is flavored with tart apple and hearty smoked sausage, and finished with a little sour cream and mustard. If you don’t have time to sauté the onions and apples, you can skip that step, going straight to Step 2 and putting the ingredients directly into the slow cooker. Small green lentils (also called French lentils or lentils du Puy) have a peppery flavor and keep their shape when cooked instead of falling apart, giving the soup an appealing texture. However, you could also use black lentils or easier-to-find brown lentils, but keep in mind that brown lentils will fall apart as they cook, creating a thicker stew. (Here is the stovetop version of this soup.)
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2tart-firm apples, such as Honeycrisp, peeled and diced
- 3celery stalks, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1fresh sage sprig, leaves chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1fresh thyme sprig
- 1 ½cups/12 ounces dry hard cider (see Tip)
- ¾pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa or Andouille, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick coins
- 1 ½cups/10 ounces dried small green lentils (also called French lentils or lentils du Puy)
- ¼teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2teaspoons cider vinegar
- ¼cup sour cream
- 2teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4to 6 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Step 1Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add half the diced apples and cook, stirring until softened, adjusting the heat as necessary to avoid scorching, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, garlic, sage and thyme, and stir to combine. Pour in the cider and let it come to a bubble. Scrape the mixture into a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker.
Step 2Add the sausage, lentils, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of black pepper to the slow cooker; pour in 3 cups water. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are tender and the flavors are mellowed and blended, about 8 hours. The soup holds well on the warm setting.
Step 3Just before you are ready to eat, add the vinegar. Stir together the sour cream with the mustard, then stir the mixture into the soup. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in bowls topped with the scallions and remaining chopped apple.