Lentil, Sausage, and Spinach Soup

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Recently I’ve had a lot of epiphanies in the kitchen. Which is kind of sad, because the realizations I’ve had have been kind of common things that most people should already know. What can I say; I guess I can be a bit dense?

For instance, did you know that using a high quality vanilla extract vastly improves your baking? I knew that, but it took me a while to actually fork over the dough for the good stuff. Sort of kicking myself for not doing so sooner. And it’s only been within the past year that I’ve actually made my own stock. Heck, even simmering water with a few veggies and some herbs will likely be 10 times better than canned stock. Silly me.

One of the easiest (and cheapest) things I’ve been doing in my cooking recently has been to incorporate parmesan cheese rind into soups. The first time I did it was with Minestrone Soup and it added a savory richness. Since enjoying that particular soup so much, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to add parm rind to virtually any broth-based soup. And it hasn’t disappointed.

Two of my local grocery stores sell Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds at a very reasonable price. I bought a package of 8 for a little over a dollar and threw them in the freezer and now I just pull one out any time I make a soup. While not entirely necessary, it’s a very welcome addition and if you haven’t added rind to your soups, I encourage you to do so.

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Lentil, Sausage, and Spinach Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 sausage links (approximately 2/3 lb) (I used spicy chicken)
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup lentils (sorted and rinsed) (I usually use French, but used brown as they were the only kind I could find)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 6 cups water (all the ingredients create plenty of flavor… no broth needed!)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from casings and cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium, add leek, onion, carrots, and celery, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for approximately 8 minutes, or until browned. Add garlic, thyme, and cumin, and cook for a few more minutes. Add lentils, bay leaves, red pepper flakes (if using), water, crushed tomatoes, and parmesan cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook (uncovered) for approximately 40 minutes until lentils are tender. Remove rind (most of it will melt into the soup) and bay leaves. Add red wine vinegar and spinach, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for a few more minutes, just until spinach has wilted. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Prepare to be wowed.

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3 responses to “Lentil, Sausage, and Spinach Soup”

  1. Liz says :

    What a healthy combination of ingredients. I’m glad you gave an option for the carnivores. Love this soup!

  2. Devz | The Savorist says :

    Lentils and sausage! Why didn’t I ever think of that. 🙂

  3. laibasausage says :

    Very Nice Post….i like it 🙂
    Making various dishes with ready to cook sausages by Best Laiba Sausage for you.
    Here is my new blog about sausage and specially invite you to like and follow my blog…thanks
    http://laibasausage.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/making-various-dishes-with-ready-to-cook-sausages/

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