New Year, New Soup

The truth is that I’ve been making this lentil and sausage soup for years.  It is so easy, flavorful, and nutritious…i.e. a perfect way to kick off 2017 by feeling healthy and productive whenever you make it (which is almost weekly in our house).

Like most classic recipes, it starts by chopping an onion.

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Saute over medium heat in a large pot with a little olive oil until onions start to soften.  Then add sausage, squeezing it out of its castings.  (Random side note:  my husband hates this part and won’t participate, but I find it oddly satisfying).

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We use these Jennie-O hot turkey sausages, but I’m sure there are organic ones at Wholefoods that my mom will tell me about as soon as she reads this post.

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Discard castings and begin to break up sausage with a wooden spoon and mix with the onions, browning slowly.  The natural fats will help keep the onions from sticking to the pan.

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Meanwhile, on a separate burner, fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add one full bag of green lentils and cover, reducing heat to medium-high.

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Now back to the sausage.  After about 5 minutes you should have a mixture that looks something like this.  Continue cooking until all meat is brown. Then drain any access fat.  I like to turn off the heat and use a paper towel to soak up any fat, but whatever method works for you.

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Turn back on heat to medium and add 3 celery stalks and a three carrots sticks, cleaned, peeled and chopped.

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Stir and saute until soft.  Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and season with salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes (optional: if you like it spicy, which I always do).

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Pull out a bag of pre-washed fresh spinach.

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Add the entire bag to the sausage/onion mixture.

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Cook until it begins to wilt.

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Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes and one can of beef broth.  Stir in with wilted spinach.

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At this point your lentils should be relatively soft.  They will continue cooking in the soup, but boiling separately beforehand will substantially reduce your cook time.  When you can pierce one easily with a fork, drain in a strainer.

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Add to soup.  Warning:  It will look like way too many lentils.  Every time I make this soup, I have the same thought, but then I stir them in and invariably the consistency is always perfect.

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Cook for another 20-30 minutes to let the flavors blend.  Salt to taste.  When you’re ready to eat, serve in a large bowl sprinkled with parmesan.

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Lentil & Sausage Soup:

1 lb. (package) hot Italian turkey sausage

1 large onion, chopped

About 3 celery stalks, chopped

About 2 carrots peeled and chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 (14 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes

1 bag pre-washed baby spinach

1 can beef broth

1 bag of green lentils

Salt & pepper

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Saute chopped onion in a large pot with a bit of olive oil.  When tender, add turkey sausage, removing from castings.  Break up sausage with a wooden spoon and continue cooking.  Meanwhile, fill a separate pot with water, boil, and pour in bag of lentils.  Reduce heat, cover, and let lentils cook for about 20 minutes, or until soft.  Drain fat from turkey sausage and onion mixture.  Add chopped celery, carrot, minced garlic, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Add entire bag of spinach and cook until wilted.  Stir in with beef broth and canned tomatoes. When lentils are soft, drain in a strainer and add to soup. Stir and continue cooking, covered, for another 30 minutes or so on low heat.  Serve with parmesan cheese and ideally a glass of red wine.