Boy, do we need a toaster. When we moved into our new apartment (though I really shouldn’t say new, it’s been five months!), we decided to leave behind our old toaster oven because it would just take up too much counter space. I was confident our oven would be enough to toast bread from time to time, and really, how much toast do we actually eat? Ok, turns out- a lot more than we thought.
Earlier this week we were making toast for breakfast and after burning through 4 slices before getting the toast right we were done. Clearly, we need to buy a toaster! I couldn’t bear to see all that bread go to waste so I left it on the counter, confident I’d figure out some way to use it later in the day.
On Sunday night I made a huge batch of Lentil Sausage stew. I love making big pots of soup or stew on Sunday because it makes the beginning of the week such a breeze in terms of meals. I knew I’d be heating up soup for lunch so I got in mind I was going to make croutons with the leftover breakfast toast.I stacked the two piece of slightly charred toasted on top of one another, and chopped them up into cubes. I then tossed them in a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and dried onion, and pan fried them for a few minutes, tossing frequently. I placed a handful on top of my bowl of soup and dug in.
I have never been happier about having burnt toast until these croutons. They are so so good, and so incredibly easy! If you don’t have dried onion you can definitely use fresh garlic or garlic powder. All would be delicious. Enjoy!
Lentil & Sausage Stew adapted from the Barefoot Contessa in Paris
8-10 servings (this makes a HUGE pot, perfect for dinner parties!)
- 1/2 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 leeks (green and white parts only), chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 T if using dried)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
- 3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3/4 chicken sausage (pre-cooked) halved lengthwise, and cut into semi-circles
- 1 1.2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the sausage and red wine vinegar and simmer until the sausage is hot. Serve with grated Parmesan and croutons.
For the croutons:
Makes enough for 3 bowls of soup
- 2 pieces slightly charred whole wheat toast, diced
- 1/4 tsp onion granules
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 T olive oil
Toss together all ingredients. Place in a small frying pan over medium heat and fry, tossing frequently, until slightly crispy.