December 28, 2008

Sausage Lentil Soup

My mom would be so proud of me....I made something with lentils in it! For my whole entire childhood and even up into my late teens, I absolutely detested anything with lentils in it. I thought that lentils tasted like cardboard, and as a child, I frequently told anyone who would listen that I was highly allergic to them. However, with the passing years I have grown to really enjoy a good lentil soup or better yet, a lentil burger toped with ripe avocado slices. This following soup was inspired after the reindeer stew that is always available back home in Alaska.

Now I have to tell you the process that I went through to create this soup, which is quite funny. Sometimes I buy my meats already packaged up at the store, but most of the time I walk down the street, literally about a block, and find myself at the local butcher. She is great and always seems to decipher out what I want from my horrible Italian and wild hand gestures. I had seen some good looking fresh sausage being offered from my butcher, so I didn't pick up any at the store when I was out getting all my other supplies. So on morning before I created this delicious soup, I headed down to Francesca's butcher shop and patiently waited my turn. There were a couple of mama mia's in front of me stocking up on meats, which I can only dream about what mouthwatering dishes they will be used for. Meanwhile, the old Italian women that is in line ahead of me decides that she wants all of the sausages left in the window for who knows what. I stare with utter disbelief, quickly wondering how I am going to ask if there are anymore in the back!!!! Francesca then finishes packaging up the 5 pounds of sausage for the hungry mama mia and looks to me for my order. I panic!! I just start pointing at the empty tray and foolishly saying questo(this) questo!! She looks at me with a look of pure confusion and points to something else. All I can do is reply no no, I want the sausages!! Well thankfully there was a HUGE tube of sausage behind some of the meats, although it wasn't the sausage that I wanted. So finally I agreed that that was what I wanted. I then inform her I would just like one, thinking she will give me one extra long piece of sausage. But no, she looks at me and asks where she should tie the sausage off. Well now I am just really panicking! I have no idea how much this piece of sausage weighs, nor am I the guy at the fair that guesses weights for a living. I tell her more and then decide I think that piece will merely have to do! I get home and unfortunately my soup could have definitely used some more sausage! But at least next time I make this soup, I will clearly know just how much sausage I need! So enjoy this hearty soup and don't panic if you don't have enough sausage to satisfy this recipe, because it still tastes just as me!

Sausage Lentil Soup

~1 can crushed tomatoes
~2 stalks celery, finely chopped
~1 carrot, shredded
~1/2 lb sausage
~fresh thyme leaves, about 1-2 tsp.
~1/2 tsp dried oregano
~1/2 tsp dried basil
~salt and pepper to taste
~4 cups broth
~4 cups water
~330 grams yellow lentils, uncooked

This soup is a little time consuming, so make sure you have a couple hours. Rinse lentils thoroughly. Brown sausage in soup pot, after 5 minutes add celery and shredded carrot. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Then add broth and water to pot. Add in lentils and spices. Cook for 2-3 hours covered or until lentils are completely cooked. Then serve with grated parm cheese. However, the longer you have to cook the lentils, the better the soup tastes. So be patient with this soup and cook it on a day when you have some time on your hands. Or better yet throw it all together in a crock pot for a couple hours and you have an easy soup on the table.

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