Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

When I first met my dear husband, he was not what you'd consider a food lover. If it wasn't a ham sandwich or spaghetti with meat sauce, he didn't want to come near it. Slowly, over the years, I have turned him around and I quite happily will say that now he is now almost as serious of an eater as I am. Lentils were a pretty hard sell for him, and this is the recipe that turned him around.

I got the idea for this soup eating out at an Italian restaurant. Theirs was tasty, but crazy salty, and I knew I could make it even better at home. I'm using homemade Italian sausage tonight, but I regularly make this soup from store-bought links. I like to mix half hot and half sweet, and make sure to remove the sausage from the casings if you can't get bulk sausage. Also, a half cup of wine, added before the chicken stock is a welcome addition.

Boozy Epicure's Spicy Lentil and Sausage Soup

1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil, more for finishing
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1 tblsp tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup lentils
3 sprigs fresh thyme
red pepper flake, to taste
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
salt/pepper, to taste
3 tblsp fresh parley, chopped, for garnish

Aromatics and sausage in the pot.
This recipe starts like most soups, place the olive oil in a soup pot with your onions, carrots and celery and cook over medium low heat.

Then add your tomato paste and cook until the onions have softened (8 to 10 minutes). Next add your sausage, breaking it up in the pot as it cooks. If you bought Italian sausage in casings vs bulk, make sure you remove the sausage from the casings.

Adding the lentils.
Time for liquids.

Once the sausage is cooked through, add the garlic, red pepper flake, bay leaf and thyme. Stir together and cook for just a minute before adding the lentils. Stir to coat the lentils in the mixture, let them cook for another minute, then add the chicken stock.

Time for the final simmer
Stir everything to combine, bring the pot to a boil then let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils have softened (in some cases, it could be much longer). Once the lentils are done, taste and season with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls and top with the chopped parsley and grated cheese.

Serve with bread or rolls and devour. You'll turn lentil haters into lentil lovers.

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