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
about 12 servings
celery stalks, finely diced
carrots, peeled and finely diced
medium onion, finely diced
cloves of garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
dried bay leaves
spicy Italian poultry sausage, removed from casings
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.