Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

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One of my Mom’s best recipes has to be her Sausage and Lentil Soup that she’s been Cookin’ Up for a few years now. This is also the number 1 most requested food from my husband, who has a weakness for slightly spicy, super yummy, savory goodness in a bowl, and sausage -I mean what guy doesn’t love meat?

You can eat a cup of soup as a spicy appetizer to your meal or make it your meal. I like to serve it with some yummy bread on the side for dunking, and then we’re in business! Lentil soup is light, yet hearty, and full of several major food groups, so don’t be afraid to grab a second helping. And since it seems everyone is coming down with the cold this time of year, why not make a batch to help you get back on your feet, and kick that cold out of your system.

Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

2 Quarts Chicken Broth (or stock)
1 Quart of Water
1 1/2 Cups uncooked green Lentils
1 Cups Carrots
1 Yellow Onion
3 Stalks Celery
1 Cloves Garlic
1 Cans Diced Tomatoes (Italin style)
3 Hot Italian Sausage Links (or about 3/4 of a pound)
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
1 Tbs Fennel seed (optional, my mother hates fennel seed, but I think it goes great with this soup)

Note: I made a double batch in a huge stock pot with the following pictures. You can too if you have a large enough pot and room in your freezer to put the left over soup. A single batch makes a lot, a double batch makes enough to feed your neighbors :)

Start by filling a large stock pot with the broth and water over medium-high heat. Then sort through your lentils on a plate picking out the bad ones and small stones that may have made it into your bag. Rinse and strain your checked lentils and pour them into your soup – I like to check them twice, as I’m pouring them into the pot. Cover the pot.

Next, if you bought sausage links you’ll need to remove the casings and break the meat up. Simply, slice the casings down the middle, peel it off of the meat, and discard. This is also where I add the fennel seeds, directly into the sausage.

Then heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. I don’t have non-stick cookware, so I added about 2 tbs of olive oil to keep the sausage from sticking, then throw your meat in, and brown it very well on both sides

While the sausage is cooking, it’s time to add the rest of the veggies to the soup. I like to use the food processor to get a nice small chop on the veggies. Even though my food processor is super small, it still saves me tons of time. You could use a blender if you don’t have a food processor.

So chop all of your carrots, onions, celery, and garlic until they look like this. Then drop then into your stock pot of broth and lentils. Cover the pot again.

Cook your sausage until it looks about like this, or even a bit more browned. Then I scoop the pieces up with a slotted spoon and drop them into the soup. I don’t think the soup needs all of the added oil and fat that is left after cooking the sausage.

So instead I leave all of the drippings from the sausage in the pan. And usually I would say, “it’s fat throw it out.” But there is so much flavor sitting there because it is super spiced Italian Sausage, I just can’t let it go to waste. So take your favorite spaghetti sauce or make your own sauce and throw it into the drippings of that pan. I guarantee that will be one of the best sauces you’ve ever tasted. Like so good it shouldn’t be allowed to exist. I just took that same bottle of sauce I opened and poured it back into the jar, so I could use it as my pizza sauce for the week, so good! You could also make a meal, serving your soup with some delicious pasta made with this amazing sauce.

Then let your soup simmer for a few hours until the lentils are tender and the flavors have melded together. I like to add a bit more Italian Seasoning and Salt and Pepper to taste, and serve the soup with some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy!

In a Sourdough Bread Bowl

Bread bowl not recommended as the broth just gets sucked right up. But since we live in San Francisco I had to try it! Instead, just serve your bread on the side, and totally use paper plates!

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