Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Last winter my friend Nancy made this soup for me for lunch. She mentioned that it was a Junior League of Seattle recipe, so when I got home I searched for it online. I didn't find the recipe, but I found a few with similar ingredients and I've combined them and tweaked the recipe over the last year.

This is Madeline's favorite soup. I always send leftovers in her thermos for lunch at school. She actually prefers it when I overcook the lentils a bit so they are "dissolved" in the soup. That is one thing I do love about this soup--unlike rice and pasta, the lentils are still yummy after they continue to soften in the soup liquid.

Lentil and Sausage Soup

1 lb. spicy italian sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrot
2 cups of dry lentils, rinsed
6 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
1 T. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 tablespoon of salt (+ more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 1/2 cups zucchini, diced
2 cups spinach leaves, shredded
Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook sausage in a heavy stock pot until browned. Drain, reserving 1 T. of drippings, and remove sausage from pan. Set aside. Cook onion, carrot and celery in tablespoon of reserved drippings over medium heat until onion is translucent. Return cooked sausage to the pan and add all but the last three remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer gently for about 60 minutes, until lentils are soft. During last 10-15 minutes of cooking, skim any fat from surface of soup and add zucchini. Add shredded spinach leaves and parmesan cheese to individual bowls when serving. Serve with baguette.

Makes about 12 servings. (??)

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