Lentil and Italian Sausage Soup

1 lb dried lentils (green, black beluga or french puy)
2 T olive oil
5 Italian sausage, hot or mild or a mix
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Pour olive oil into a large stew pot. Brown the sausages on all sides. When the sausages are almost done add the carrots and garlic and saute until soft, be careful to not brown the garlic. Add the lentils to the pot and stir them into the oil. Add enough water to cover the lentils by about an inch. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then simmer until the lentils are soft - about 30 minutes. Check the soup occasionally, adding water as needed.

When the lentils are almost done, remove the sausages and let cool slightly. Slice the sausages in to 1/4" rounds. Add back to the pot, cook until the sausages are warm and the lentils are very soft. Add a bit more water if needed. Adjust the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls with lots of crusty bread.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


My Mom would make this dish for us on cold winter nights. It definitely sticks to the ribs. She always called it "black soup". A little family joke. One of our local farm stands, Pleasant Ridge Farms, carries beluga lentils grown in eastern Washington. I have been using these lentils lately.

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