No joke, this is probably my all-time favorite soup that I’ve ever created, and I make it several times a year. You can use uncooked sausage or the pre-cooked kind, pork or chicken, whatever you’ve got around or you prefer. You can also sub out the beef stock for chicken stock, which I’ve done many times when I don’t have beef stock in the pantry. I posted this on my old website years ago, and so I’m dragging it out and giving it new life. And hey, if you want to make it vegan, just omit the sausage and use veggie stock. It won’t be quite as rich, but will still be very yummy!
Sausage and Lentil Soup
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
6-8 organic baby carrots
2 organic celery stalks
2 garlic cloves (optional; I only use these about half of the time)
2 medium sized sausages, removed from casing
1 can tomato sauce
1 box (32 oz) beef stock
14-15 oz water
1 1/2 cups organic red lentils
1/3 bag fresh organic baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste
Mirepoix: The Starter
An easy way to start soups is with mirepoix, also known as “the Holy trinity” (no sacreligiousness intended; merely reporting what others have called it). This is onion, carrot, and celery. Used often in Cajun/Creole and Italian cooking, it adds a savory and sweet (from the carrots) base. For this soup, I finely diced 1/2 yellow onion, 6-8 organic baby carrots, and 2 organic celery stalks. Throw in a couple finely diced garlic cloves, some salt and pepper, and you’ve got a great start to a tasty soup! Cook until the onion is slightly transparent and the carrots and celery are slightly softened. No need to get too crazy with it since everything will cook another half an hour in the liquid anyway.
Next, add the sausage (removed from the casing if using raw sausage, or diced if using pre-cooked sausage), and saute for 3-5 mins until it’s slightly browned and you’ve infused some flavor into the veggies.
Add a can of tomato sauce and the beef stock and stir. Fill up the tomato sauce can with water, and add that in for some extra liquid (if you like the soup thicker, you can omit this step, but you’ll have to tend the potatoes a little more closely). Chop up the potatoes (they thicken soups due to their starch content) into small chunks and add them in carefully (they can splash hot liquid otherwise!).
Let it cook for about 10 minutes. Wash the lentils in a strainer and add them to the pot, stirring every couple minutes to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. Cook on a low boil/simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add some fresh spinach at the last minute, letting the leaves wilt, and voila!, it’s done.