lentil & sausage soup

Who’s ready for some hearty soup?  This is just what you need when there’s a chill in the air.  Full of flavor with stick-to-the-ribs goodness.  The inspiration for this deliciousness comes from Ina Garten.  The recipe for her Lentil Sausage Soup is featured in her book, Barefoot in Paris.  I’ve switched things up substantially over the years, but she still deserves the credit.

Before you start slicing and dicing, there are two important steps to take.  First …brown the sausage so that you end up with sausage crumbles.  Then get the lentils soaking.  You’ll be covering them with boiling water (in a heatproof bowl) and make sure you don’t skimp on the water …a good bit of it will be soaked up before they’re done.  I use about a quart of boiling water and that seems to work out well.  They only need a total of fifteen minutes, but it’s best to have them ready when it’s time to add them to the mix.

Choose a dutch oven or stock pot that holds at least 7 quarts.  You’ll start off by sautéing the onions, leeks and garlic until they are translucent.

After about 20 minutes, the celery and carrots are added …sauté for another 10 minutes.

Then the stock is added along with the tomato paste, drained lentils and browned sausage …let it all simmer for about an hour or until the lentils are cooked through and tender.  I use a combination of chicken stock and broth on this one …one quart of my homemade chicken stock along with two quarts of organic chicken broth.  If you have some soup leftover for tomorrow, that’s good news.  Just be sure to have some extra broth handy.  The soup tends to thicken after some time.

Serve the soup topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped fresh parsley.  I added some roasted baby carrots.  Another idea …add some sausage or bacon crumbles.  It’s all good.

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lentil & sausage soup

Inspired by Ina Garten in Barefoot in Paris


Servings 4 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pound French green lentils
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced (4 cups / 18 ounces)
  • 3 leeks, chopped, white & light green parts only (4 cups / 13 ounces)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 stalks celery, sliced (3 cups / 11 ounces)
  • 6 carrots, sliced (4 cups / 18 ounces)
  • 3 quarts homemade chicken stock or organic broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove sausage from casings.  Break up sausage into small bits and brown until cooked through.  Set aside.

  2. In a large heatproof bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside with sausage.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven of at least 7-quart capacity over medium heat.   Saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender.

  4. Add the celery and carrots.  Saute for another 10 minutes.

  5. Add the chicken stock, browned sausage, 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.

  6. Add the red wine or vinegar.  Check the seasonings.  Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

For a vegetarian version, omit the sausage and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock or broth.

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