I've taken to making a big batch of this thick, hearty soup quite regularly. It makes a nice hot lunch for S to take to work and also fortifies us for lifting heavy babies. A big pot lasts us a week and is great value for the cost of the ingredients, most of which are common pantry items.
I use a chunk of parmesan in place of salt because it adds flavour as well as saltiness. I usually make this soup with either potato or chickpeas, but I've listed both here for an extra-chunky, winterized version. I hope you find this recipe as delicious as we do. S is not big on veggies let alone lentils, but even he loves the flavour parade this soup brings out.
French lentil soup with sausage and potato
2 Tbsp olive oil for frying
2 medium onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lentils de Puy
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp herbes de Provence
2 bay leaves
1 chunk (or rind) of parmesan cheese
8 cups water
1 package “Little Gems” new potatoes, quartered, or 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
meat from 2 sausages (chorizo, mild Italian or hot Italian are nice)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Put the lentils in a bowl and rinse with cold water four times or until the water runs clear. Set aside.
On the stove, warm the olive oil in the bottom of a big stock pot on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions, celery and carrot. Stir until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic after five.
Add the rinsed lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves, herbes de Provence, parmesan and water to the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
If using chickpeas, drain them in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
Score the sausages lengthwise with a sharp knife to separate the meat from the skins. Discard the skins and set aside the meat. I usually crumble it in by hand when it's time to add it to the soup.
After the soup has simmered for thirty minutes, add the potatoes and/or chickpeas and chunks of sausage meat. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, topping up with half a cup of water if needed.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.