In Which There Are Lentils

The next soup on the menu this week was very different than the first – a simple chicken and rice concoction – not in complexity or difficulty, but in flavor. This one was a sausage and lentil soup, equally easy and equally hearty, but with a deep meaty flavor and an almost stew-like feel.

The recipe called for uncased spicy chicken sausage, but after being unable to find that at two grocery stores, I caved and bought uncased Italian sausage, which we cooked right in the soup pot:

Cooking Italian sausage.

Sizzling sausage.

You then pull the sausage out of the pot and throw in the veggies and some spices and keep on cookin’…

Cooking celery, carrots, and onion.

Such lovely colors!

And before long, you’ve got a big giant pot of soup!

Italian sausage and lentil soup.

Soup bubbling away…

This soup cooks away for some time, and at the end results in a very savory, thick, yummy soup. I haven’t yet gone for the leftovers (we’ve had so many options this week), but I suspect they’ll be damn good.

Chicken (Italian) Sausage and Lentil Soup

A bowl and a book. Perfect.

Spicy Chicken Sausage and Lentil Soup
Adapted from Joy the Baker.

This wintry soup, almost a stew, is utterly chock-full of tender lentils and meaty sausage in every bite. Again, despite the store-bought chicken broth, it really tastes homemade. If I made it again, I might try harder to find chicken sausage, since I’m not hugely into the fennel taste Italian sausage has, but really I think any uncooked, uncased sausage could work to give this soup a unique twist!

Yield: 8 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, uncased [Originally called for 1 lb. spicy chicken sausage]
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cups uncooked French lentils, rinsed
8 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese, olive oil, and bread to serve [Optional – I haven’t tried it this way yet!]

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add the uncased chicken sausage and cook, breaking up with a spatula as it cooks.  Sausage should finish cooking in small chunks.  Remove from the pan.

Add a touch more olive oil if necessary.  Add onions, celery, and carrots.  Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 to seven minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add the garlic, cumin, and chili flakes, and cook for one minute more.

Add the sausage back to the pan.  Stir to incorporate.  Add the lentils and chicken stock.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.

Serve soup with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and good crusty bread.

Soup will last, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days.  Soup also freezes well.

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