This post marks the first smitten kitchen recipe I’ve ever made that wasn’t a success.
Well. That’s not totally true. Before I started blogging my cooking, I made these pork chops and deemed them weird and too much. But there was success in the diverse elements of the dish. The bread crumbs were amazing. The pork-chops-and-mustard combo was, needless to say, excellent. I took from the dish ideas I could build on. (That said, “dredge your pork chops in mustard and panko and then bake them” is not a delicious idea, don’t do it.) This soup … not so much.
I’m pretty sure the problem is the can of crushed tomatoes. I don’t know if it’s because I used the same kind my dad uses when he makes pasta sauce, but I do know that the can of tomatoes, plus the ground sausage, chopped garlic and onion, and bay leaves contributed to a flavor that wasn’t far off from underwhelming pasta sauce. Also, Deb’s photo of the soup shows visible lentils, which mine definitely did not have. Maybe it would’ve been different if I’d used brown lentils as she recommends instead of red lentils, which I had. (Apparently red lentils tend to get mushy, unlike brown lentils. Who knew?) All I know is that the final soup was really underwhelming with no sparkle. We ate it – it wasn’t bad – but now I don’t know what to do with the leftovers.
The best thing this soup did was introduce me to Swiss chard. I’m generally suspicious of leafy greens, as they lean towards bitter and I don’t like bitter, but the chard was delicious both raw and cooked, not bitter at all. I look forward to working with it in the future.
Notes: I reduced to two links of sausage, as Deb suggests, but I’m not sure I like this decision. On the one hand, it really could have used more sausage. On the other hand, I feel like more sausage would have just pushed it further towards pasta sauce territory. So … I don’t know. I also, as I said, used red lentils instead of brown. I have no idea if it would be better with brown, but I know it wasn’t great with red.
Verdict: Bleh. Underwhelming to the max. C-