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Lentil and Sausage Soup

  • 1 1/2cups French green lentils
  • 2dried bay leaves
  • 3tablespoons olive oil (or bacon fat)
  • 1pound Italian pork sausage
  • 1large yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 4garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • Salt
  • 3celery stalks (and their leaves if possible), chopped
  • 1tablespoon dried marjoram (or fresh marjoram, chopped)
  • 1/2cup sturdy red wine
  • 4large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4cups chicken or beef stock (preferably homemade)
  • 3tablespoons ketchup
  • 2cups chopped spinach (frozen is fine; just use 1 1/2 cups instead)
  • 1/4cup chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste
  1. Rinse the lentils; put them in a large saucepan with about 3 cups of water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot; add the sausage and brown, stirring frequently. Remove the sausage to a cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Reserve.
  3. Add the remaining oil, the onions and garlic, with a good pinch of salt; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
  4. Add the celery and marjoram, stirring over medium heat all the while. Add the wine and let it cook until reduced by half. Stir in the lentils with their cooking water, along with the stock, sliced sausage and the carrots; bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender and the broth is concentrated, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Ten minutes before serving, stir in the ketchup, spinach and parsley; simmer for another five minutes. Check for salt and correct. Add freshly ground pepper. Serve with red wine vinegar for guests to add, to taste.
  6. A bowl of this soup, with slices of hearty whole-grain bread, toasted, makes a fine one-pot supper.
Melissa Fuller