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Author Notes: This soup was a spur of the moment solution to a frosty winter's night, inspired by a soup of Jacques Pepin with similar ingredients. Comforting and robustly good for you, barley and lentils are almost perfect foods for the body themselves. Poultry sausage stands in for pork sausage, providing minimal fat, but also an abundance of flavor. Each steaming spoonful warms the heart, and its gentle kick from the spicy sausage and flurry of pepper warms the soul. Sprinkled with creamy parmesan shavings and served with whole wheat bread, this makes a healthy and satisfying lunch or supper. —SweetB
Serves about 12 servings
- 2-3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 pound spicy Italian poultry sausage, removed from casings
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound dried green lentils
- 2/3 cup pearl barley
- salt and pepper to taste
- drizzle of olive oil
- Lightly drizzle the bottom of a large pot with oil and set over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned and no longer pink, using a spoon to break up the sausage as it cooks.
- Add the chopped celery, carrot, onion, leek and garlic with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are softened and light gold, 5-10 minutes.
- Add the bay leaves, chicken stock, lentils and barley. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn down to low heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the lentils and barley are tender. Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot with a grating of fresh parmesan.