When winter comes, I stock up on lentils. I like to have all varieties available; french lentils, turkish lentils, beluga lentils – pretty much any kind I can find in the market. Lentils are so versatile, I can pretty much make any flavor profile, and they work. Most of the time I make lentils without meat – they are definitely filling enough, and if I use chicken or beef stock, I get enough flavor – but I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I had to give it a try. The recipe called for spicy italian sausage, but I prefer chicken sausage, so I went with that. I thought it was delicious – nice and comforting, rich in flavor, but not too heavy. I served it with a big green salad, and it was very satisfying.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound italian chicken sausage
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 2 large carrots, peeled, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 2 large parsnips, peeled, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 2 large celery stalks, chopped about 1 cup
- 21/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning blend
- 1 pound brown lentils (about 2 1/3 cups)
- 3 quarts (or more) low-salt chicken broth
- 1 5-ounce package baby spinach leaves
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage (without the casings) and cook until nice and crumbled and browned, breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl. Add onion, carrots, parsnips, celery, and Italian seasoning blend to drippings in pot; cook until onion is translucent and vegetables begin to soften, stirring often, 7 to 8 minutes. Add lentils; stir to coat. Add 3 quarts broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if soup is too thick, 20 minutes.
Add sausage to soup and simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors blend, 10 to 12 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.
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