Sunday, July 25, 2021

(Vegan) Lentil & Sausage Soup: "Hiding Soup" from Cook the Books June/July Pick: "97 Orchard"

Today's soup is not the prettiest, but it is tasty. It's my vegan adaptation of a lentil and sausage soup recipe from 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman. This round is hosted by Simona of briciole and you can see her announcement post here.  

I am only about 2/3 through the book due to a crazy work and life month so I will come back and update my review later this week, but I wanted to do my post and make this soup today for Souper Sundays. So far I am enjoying this glimpse into the culinary lives of the different families in the book and learning about the New York City food scene on the Lower East Side from the mid-nineteenth century into the twentieth century. I love food history and knowing where the different dishes I grew up with in America had their origins. Ziegelman does a good balance of storytelling and details that makes the book entertaining.  
***Update*** I finished the book over the weekend and really enjoyed the mix of the stories and the historical facts and details. I do wish there was a bit more emphasis on the family's daily lives but overall, it kept my interest and taught me much about immigrant life and food culture. I am mostly of Scandinavian origin with my father's parents immigrating through Ellis Island from Sweden and Denmark, but I do have some German and Polish-Jewish blood in me from my mom's side, and it was nice to learn a bit more about the food and culture as her and my family's experience was a bit watered down by the time it got to us. 

From the Publisher:

"Ziegelman puts a historical spin to the notion that you are what you eat by looking at five immigrant families from what she calls the "elemental perspective of the foods they ate." They are German, Italian, Irish, and Jewish (both Orthodox and Reform) from Russia and Germany—they are new Americans, and each family, sometime between 1863 and 1935, lived on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Each represents the predicaments faced in adapting the food traditions it knew to the country it adopted. From census data, newspaper accounts, sociological studies, and cookbooks of the time, Ziegelman vividly renders a proud, diverse community learning to be American. She describes the funk of fermenting sauerkraut, the bounty of a pushcart market, the culinary versatility of a potato, as well as such treats as hamburger, spaghetti, and lager beer. Beyond the foodstuffs and recipes of the time, however, are the mores, histories, and identities that food evokes. Through food, the author records the immigrants’ struggle to reinterpret themselves in an American context and their reciprocal impact on American culture at large."

There were several dishes and recipes I thought would be fun to make for the book but I ended up with the Lentil Soup recipe from Chapter 3 from the German-Jewish perspective since I am such a big lentil soup fan. Since the recipe uses sausage--a ringwurst which is like a kielbasa or knackwurst, and I wanted to make it vegan so I used some Beyond Meat Sweet Italian Sausages to replace it.

97 Orchard says: In accordance with family tradition, lentil soup was known as "hiding soup in the Nussbaum' kitchen, a reference to the way the sausage tended to "hide" among the lentils." 

(Vegan) Lentil & Sausage Soup: "Hiding Soup"
Adapted from Kela Nussbaum from 97 Orchard
(Makes 6 Large Servings)

1-lb bag brown lentils
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely sliced
(I added 1 small carrot, chopped)
2 cloves garlic, minced
(I added 4 cups non-chicken stock + 3 cups water to make 7 cups liquid in recipe)
1 ringwurst (aprox. 1 lb) (I used Beyond Meat Sweet Italian Sausage, browned)
2 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper

Soak lentil in abundant cold water until they expand, about 2 hours. (I skipped this step.) Drain and set aside. 

In a large soup pot, sauté the onion and celery until soft and onion turns pale gold. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add ringwurst, whole drained lentils, and 7 cups of water. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until lentils are barely tender. 

In a cup, mix flour with a few tablespoons of cooking broth to form a roux. When free of lumps, return to the soup pot. 

Stir and continue cooking until lentils are fully tender but still hold their shape. Remove ringwurst, slice into discs, and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes/Results: I wasn't sure how well this soup was going to turn out, but it is actually really good--thick and satisfying and good sausage flavor. I think browning the vegan sausage helped, as did working in some broth with the water in the soup. I also added a touch of lemon juice for brightness as I like a pop of acidity in my lentil soup. Also fun was the topping of Crispy Dillies (pickle-flavored cucumbers) I added--not in the traditional recipe but really good on top of this soup.

The deadline for this round is Saturday, July 31, and Simona will be rounding up the entries for Cook the Books on the website in a day or two. If you missed this round and you like books and food and foodie books, join us for our August/September pick Midnight At the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber and hosted by yours truly. 

Let's see who is in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week. 

Judy of Gluten Free A - Z Blog shares a Vegan Salad Nicoise and says, "Originating in Nice, France, the popular Salad Nicoise has become well known in the United States as well. The hearty salad typically includes potatoes, French green beans, wedged tomatoes, anchovies and or tuna fish, olives, sliced red onions, etc. Everything works for a vegan except the fish. Perfect for a hot summer day!"

Debra of Eliot's Eats made this Basque-Style New Orleans Hybrid Muffaletta Sandwich, based on a recent book review saying, "And, since a large part of the plot takes place in New Orleans during Katrina, I decided to use this bread to make a Turkey Muffaletta sandwich. I halved the above loaf and used half of the ingredients below but the dressing is good enough you will want to make a full batch and pour it on everything."

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen is back and she brought Salsa Verde Courgette Pasta Salad and said, "...we also had home-made Salsa Verde Pasta with homegrown courgettes.  It was not overly exciting, but it's made hit the spot when your hungry and wish you had packed more to eat for a long journey, knowing that you won't have energy to cook when you got back home."

Thanks to Judee, Debra, and Shaheen for joining me this week! 

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
  • Although we are pretty wide on what defines a soup, sandwich or salad, entries that are clearly not in the same family (ie: desserts, meats, random main or side dishes that aren't salads, etc.) are meant for another round up and will be deleted. 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!



  1. Deb,
    Thank you for sharing your review of this book! I can't wait to read it. I've been to Orchard Street and my mother's family were immigrants during that time frame in NYC.. It will be so interesting to read about the lives of the people and the food history. I love using beyond meat sausage. Your soup looks delish!

  2. That soup sounds really satisfying. We've been enjoying some Beyond Meat offerings here, too. I've been pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed this book (again, pleasantly surprised). Linking up again this week.

  3. For Souper Sunday I brought you an unimaginative Caesar salad, just cause I missed joining you 😊

    Loving the lentil soup & I never thought about using the Beyond Meat for a bump. We’ve had their brand of burgers & like them. The book sounds intriguing & I look forward to your full review.

  4. I am also a big fan of lentil soup, so I applaud your choice of recipe, Deb. Glad you're enjoying the book: it contains a lot of information, while also bringing to life the people described. Thank you so much for your contribution to this edition of Cook the Books :)

  5. I almost went with the lentil soup as well. I still might revisit it since yours looks so dang good.


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