Lentil Stew with Smoked Turkey and Sweet Potatoes

Rain, rain, go away...come back on another day.... Just as I was boxing up the winter gear and pulling out the frilly skirts and short-sleeved tops, we got hit with a cold front that will likely linger through the end of the week.  Not great for frolicking in the garden, but these days have been so rare that it is incumbent upon us to make the most of it and use them to savor steamy hearty soups and luxuriate in thick spiced hot chocolate that is made so much sweeter by the cold air.

On this rainy weekend, we enjoyed a light but hearty (a bit of an oxymoron, isn't it?) lentil stew that was made brawnier by a smoked turkey leg and accompanied by colorful chunks of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and deep-green kale. This lentil soup is a melding pot of textures and smoky vegetable flavors that gets better with each day, so it's worthwhile to make a big batch. Relatively simple and quick to put together, this soup is quite sumptuous and adds a lot of color to the grayest of days.

Lentil Stew with Smoked Turkey and Sweet Potatoes
Notes: The recipe calls for a smoked turkey leg that is deboned and diced. To make the leg easier to handle, I simmered the entire leg in the soup for 30 minutes, removed it and allowed it to cool down before I diced it into chunks and returned it into the soup. While I haven't tried it, I think the smoked turkey could be removed entirely for a vegetarian version. 
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped 
  • 3 teaspoon minced fresh thyme 
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth 
  • 1 lb. smoked turkey leg, deboned, skinned and diced (about 2 cups meat) 
  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils, picked over and rinsed 
  • 1 1/4 lb. orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
  • 1/2 bunch kale or chard, stems removed and leaves chopped 
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
Method 
  1. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and celery and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tsp. of the thyme and cook, stirring, until the onion is brown, about 4 minutes. Add the broth, turkey and lentils. Cover, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes. 
  2. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan and simmer until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Add the kale and simmer until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season the stew with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp. thyme. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 6. 
Here are some tips from the Williams Sonoma website: The recipe makes a big pot of stew, and the flavors improve each time it is reheated. If it gets too thick, thin the stew with a little water. Smoked turkey can be replaced with smoked sausage, such as chicken or pork andouille or kielbasa. Or, for a meatless version, omit the turkey and use vegetable broth. Extra smoked turkey can be used as a sandwich filling, with sautéed potatoes, or as an addition to macaroni and cheese.

23 comments:

kale @ tastes good to me! said...

Ugh, it has been raining every. single. day! here for what feels like (and could actually be) months. This stew would be the absolute perfect dish!! Like getting a big, warm hug.

Velva said...

Sending warm summer days your way...The stew looks awesome. Love the sweet potatoes with the lentils.

Velva

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Yes - quite a stormy day all up and down the East coast. This looks like a warm and wonderful dish for a day of warm, dry nesting at home!

Claudia said...

We are also in the rain and so much cooler than March - go figure. I have been staring at my lentils and thinking - hmmm .... not another lentil soup and here you are with a hearty lentil stew - perfect for the days and my lentils.

Gloria said...

look delicious I love lentils!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I couldn't get over the fact that you got hit with a cold front after how warm it's been. The weather is certainly strange this year.

Cool weather and lentils seem to be a match made in heaven. I've always got a bag of lentils on my shelf for such occasions. The sweet potatoes give this such a kick of color.
Sam

Belinda @zomppa said...

So true! I packed up my sweaters and BOOM! What hearty lovely warm-the-belly meal!

Barbara said...

You are really getting nailed with a storm today, Christine. This soup would be the perfect cozy warm-up! Hate to think you might lose all the spring flowers!
Great idea to add sweet potatoes...my daughter got me hooked on kale a couple years ago; I try to use it often in place of spinach.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I love thick hearty stews like this!

Penny said...

It is windy and cold here today. Your soup looks perfect. I just put out my basil plants and we are supposed to have below freezing temps tonight. Arrrgh!

Megan said...

I love lentils and wish I had some of this stew tonight. It's been gray, rainy, and chilly. I really wish we had the warm weather back too.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

The weather has been so cruel here also! March came in like June and April has been more like March! It sounds like the east coast is getting the rainy weather we had last week.

This sounds like a delicious way to chase away the cold and rainy blues! What a delicious combination.

nancy at good food matters said...

Hi Christine,
It's almost like April and March swapped places this year. It is oddly cool here too, for this late in April.
Your soup looks incredible--a terrific assembly of colors, textures, and tastes.

About Last Weekend said...

So appetising and appealing with those shots of orange colour!

White Hot Oven said...

Love the burst of color with the orange and green. Oh how I love the flavor of smoked turkey. This looks delicious!

tasteofbeirut said...

A lentil stew is what is popular in this part of the world, usually with a good dose of garlic! Love the idea of adding the potatoes and kale. Hope you get great weather soon to lift your spirits~

lisa is cooking said...

This sounds wonderful for a rainy day. Or any day--I love lentils and kale, and the sweet potato chunks are so pretty. Great tip regarding simmering the turkey leg.

Chiara Giglio said...

What a delicious combination Christine!

Pierce said...

A nice healthy tasty stew for some rotten weather. mmmm

El said...

The weather has been really strange. Sorry to hear about the clothes. Your dish is a feast for the eyes. You always make such beautiful and elegant meals.

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I love lentils and this stew sounds wonderful! Love the beautiful, bright orange sweet potatoes!

sophia said...

I hope the rain has ceased for you by now! It's been super hot and dry here. May some of the warmth here breeze your way!

I've been looking for some cool lentil recipes! I need to cut back on my food expenses and this is perfect...:-)

Sippity Sup said...

Lentils are perfect for a rainy day. We have sunshine here right now, and still lentils sound good. GREG