Let me start by saying, I should not like this recipe.
It has lentils and generally speaking, I am not a lentil person.
It has sausage, and I believe I've mentioned several times before that sausage makes me nervous.
Aesthetically speaking, this is not a particularly pretty soup. It's gray. I've tried to disguise that fact with a chiffonade of spinach and some finely grated parmesan cheese, but the bottom line is gray is not a happy food color. Gray food tends to bring back bad memories of your junior high cafeteria.
All that to say, against all odds, I love, love, love this soup. It's in my top three favorite soups of all time, and that's saying something.
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt - or less, depending on the saltiness of your chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 cup finely sliced spinach
grated parmesan cheese
In a large stockpot, brown and drain sausage and set aside. In the same pan, saute carrot, onion and celery in butter and olive oil till they start to soften. Add lentils and chicken stock. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes, until lentils and vegetables are tender. I usually add about a cup of water at this point as a lot of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated. Add mustard, vinegar (both are vital to this recipe) and salt. Stir in cream and heat through.
Garnish with spinach and parmesan cheese, and you've got yourself a perfect meal for a cold winter's night.
Ina's Parmesan Crackers are the perfect accompaniment to this soup.
My sister is my Parmesan Cracker supplier, sending me a box every Christmas, so I've never actually made these myself. Sister adds an additional two tablespoons of butter to the recipe, as the dough tends to be pretty dry. She also highly recommends baking them on a Silpat so they don't stick to the baking pan. Oh, and she cuts the pepper back to 1/4 teaspoon.
They are a savory slice of shortbread heaven.
Make some today!
But only if you want to.
I don't want to be bossy.