Crock-Pots can be a college student’s best friend. You may have seen the many Buzzfeed videos, or articles on the subject. In fact, upon googling the phrase “Buzzfeed Crock-Pot,” the entire first page of results were direct links to articles from the website. While Buzzfeed is great and all, it can’t hurt to branch out and explore the other wonders of what you can make in that nifty little slow cooker. Here is one of my personal favorites that I can toss in the Crock-Pot in the morning, go to school, and eat fresh and hot for dinner when I get home eight hours later.
My all-time favorite slow cooker dish is a lentil and sausage soup that I found on a website called Foxes Love Lemons. The blog is run by a culinary school graduate named Lori and has some great cooking tips. What I love about this dish is its simplicity. It also doesn’t require any raw meat, which for a college student on a budget and a tendency to leave her dishes a little too long in the sink, can be a huge plus. There is also a ton of room to play with the recipe that she recommends, meaning that you can make this soup even if you only have a fraction of the ingredients called for.
I have made this soup a half dozen times both at college and at home over breaks, and it has never failed to disappoint. Everytime I make it, I try to switch up some component, sometimes because I am lacking a specific ingredient, but other times because I just want some variety. The first and most frequent change I make is to add more carrots. While the recipe asks for two medium sized carrots, I usually opt for three or four. The cooked carrots have a great, soft, but not mushy, texture and add a little more substance to the soup. Since I go grocery shopping on an embarrassingly irregular basis, it is usually the case that I don’t have fresh herbs or vegetables such as leeks on hand. This being the case, I have made this soup without the two aforementioned ingredients, and while it was still tasty, they definitely add a little something that greatly enhances the overall dish.
This lentil and sausage soup is filling, lasts a while in the fridge and is pretty healthy—all things I look for when trying to put together a meal. And last but certainly not least is my personal favorite aspect: I dump all the ingredients into the Crock-Pot when I am making my coffee in the morning, and it is waiting for me, still hot, when I get home!
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium leek (white and light green part only), thinly sliced
8 ounces smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked through
1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and picked through
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 cups less-sodium chicken broth
In bowl of slow cooker, stir celery, garlic, carrots, leek, sausage, lentils, tomato paste, curry powder, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper until well combined. Stir in broth. Cover and cook on low eight hours or until lentils are tender. Serve!