Sausage and Lentil Soup
(Adapted from the Whole Foods Cookbook)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tsp. fennel seeds
8 c. chicken stock
4 c. water
1 1/2 c. lentils, rinsed and picked over (uncooked)
1 c. brown rice (uncooked)
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt to taste (we use about 2 tsp.)
1 package fresh baby spinach (or 1 package frozen, thawed and drained well)
Chop and peel all of your vegetables. In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, add a few tablespoons of butter plus a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the veggies and saute for about 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften.
Remove the casings for your sausage- to do this, slice down the center of each sausage. The casing should peel right off.
Add sausage to the pan with the vegetables crumbling slightly as you add them in.
Begin to chop them apart into small pieces. We use a wooden spatula, which is very sturdy and won't harm our pan.
After another 5 minutes, your sausage should be starting to brown nicely.
Add in the fennel and let cook for a few more minutes.
Add in your 12 cups of liquid (you can use any combination of broth and water depending on what you have in the house).
Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
Add in the rice and lentils, salt and red pepper flakes and stir well.
Let your soup simmer for 30 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook for another 15 minutes, or until rice and lentils are cooked thoroughly. Taste and check for seasoning.
We top ours with some grated Parmesan cheese. Yum!