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Author Notes: This hearty one-dish-supper soup is in my regular fall-winter rotation, and has been a family favorite for quite a long time. That means three things: it tastes great, it’s not complicated, and I usually have on hand everything needed to make it. Once it’s served, people dig in and suddenly, the table’s quiet for a minute or two. Serve it with a hearty whole grain bread and follow it with fruit and cheese for a lovely, easy dinner at home. You'll see that the primary herb is marjoram. That's not an herb that you see often in recipes, but to my mind, it's what makes this soup so tasty. Enjoy!! —AntoniaJames
Food52 Review: The beauty of this soup is that it manages to be soul-warming but not overly heavy. The broth is light, and aromatic with wine and marjoram, and you feel like you've won the lottery each time you come across a piece of garlicky sausage. AntoniaJames has you simmer the lentils and veggies until they're just cooked through, so that they retain a bit of a bite and the soup, while filling, seems fresh rather than leaden. A sprinkle of red wine vinegar adds a bright hit of acidity. - A&M —The Editors
Serves 4 with plenty of leftovers
- 1 1/2 cups French green lentils
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon fat)
- 1 pound Italian pork sausage
- 1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 3 celery stalks (and their leaves if possible), chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram (or fresh marjoram, chopped)
- 1/2 cup sturdy red wine
- 4 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 cups chicken or beef stock (preferably homemade)
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 cups chopped spinach (frozen is fine; just use 1 1/2 cups instead)
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Red wine vinegar, to taste
- Rinse the lentils; put them in a large saucepan with about 3 cups of water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot; add the sausage and brown, stirring frequently. Remove the sausage to a cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Reserve.
- Add the remaining oil, the onions and garlic, with a good pinch of salt; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
- Add the celery and marjoram, stirring over medium heat all the while. Add the wine and let it cook until reduced by half. Stir in the lentils with their cooking water, along with the stock, sliced sausage and the carrots; bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender and the broth is concentrated, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Ten minutes before serving, stir in the ketchup, spinach and parsley; simmer for another five minutes. Check for salt and correct. Add freshly ground pepper. Serve with red wine vinegar for guests to add, to taste.
- A bowl of this soup, with slices of hearty whole-grain bread, toasted, makes a fine one-pot supper.
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