Prep 12 hrs
Cook 1 hr
Hearty and flavorful, this soup is wonderful when it's cold outside. We enjoy it with a green salad and thick slices of toasted English muffin bread. It is based on a recipe from "The Best of Hometown Cooking". I omitted the oil, cut the meat by half, use no salt tomato products and altered the cooking process a bit. It's one of the ways that we are cutting down on fat and sodium yet enjoying flavorful foods. It's a favorite at our house - I hope it will be for you too. (Edit - To reduce "digestive" issues it has been suggested in one of the forums that you may choose to cover your lentils in water and "soak" them overnight. I've tried it and liked the results so have added the instructions).
- 1 lb Italian sausage (hot or sweet, as you prefer)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery, diced (stalks)
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (we use no salt)
- 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes (we use no salt)
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt)
- 8 cups beef broth (low-sodium)
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning, crushed (dried)
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked free of stones
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ground black pepper, to taste
- The night before preparing the soup put the lentils in a large bowl and cover them with about 1 inch of water. Allow to "soak" over night. In the morning rinse and drain the lentils. Set aside to be added to the soup as directed.
- In a large soup kettle brown the sausage, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. (Use bulk sausage or remove any casings).
- Remove sausage, drain fat, leaving a small film of fat on the bottom of the kettle.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery; saute over medium for about 10 minutes, adding the garlic for the last 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook over medium for about 2 minutes.
- Return the sausage to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes in their juice, tomato sauce, beef broth and Italian seasoning.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in lentils and water; cook for 20 minutes, tasting lentils for "doneness" and cooking longer if necessary.
- Add a bit more water if necessary - depending on how "thirsty" your lentils are - this is a thick soup but there should be some broth.
- Serve, allowing each person to add grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper as desired.