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Lentil and Sausage Soup

Lentil and Sausage Soup

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Serves 4 to 6.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a restaurant recipe.

I believe a bowl of warm and satisfying soup is the perfect meal for a cold and rainy winter day. This soup is hearty with the delicious flavor of lentils and Italian sausage meat. Diced vegetables and homemade chicken stock round out the flavors. This soup could be a first course at dinner or as a light lunch with a sandwich or some crusty Italian bread.

Ingredients:

2 to 3 (225 to 240g) Italian sausages, casings removed, cut into pieces
Optional: bread crumbs or panko
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil for frying
¼ cup (32g) diced onion
¼ cup (32g) diced celery
¼ cup (32g) diced carrot
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed through a garlic press
1 pound (450g) lentils
6 to 8 cups (1.4 to 1.9 liters) chicken stock, more for a thinner soup
1 cup (140g) diced potato
4 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped or cut into chiffonade
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

After removing and discarding the sausage casings, cut the sausage links into pieces that resemble small meatballs. Optional: Roll the sausage pieces in bread crumbs or panko to coat evenly.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot and sauté the sausage pieces, turning often, until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon or other strainer, transfer the sausage to a plate lined with paper towels.

Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook less than a minute.

Return the sausage to the pot and add the lentils and 6 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer 35 minutes. Check the soup halfway through the cooking time add stock, about 2 cups (475ml). Additional stock can be added toward the end of the cooking time if you prefer a thinner broth for your soup.

Toward the end of the soup’s cooking time, peel and dice the potatoes into pieces that are larger than the other vegetables. Add the potatoes to the soup and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust for salt and pepper.

Chop the fresh basil leaves or cut into chiffonade (little threads). Either add the basil to the pot about a minute before serving, or ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with a little basil. Serve immediately.