Lentils were not his preferred food, although he could eat canned peas so go figure. One time mom was away he nibbled from one pot of peas that he left on the stove all week and ate steak with butter on it.
The French have a way of helping vegetarians and meat lovers meet halfway and their traditional Du Puy lentils can convert even the most ardent lentil haters. Unlike brown or red lentils, French lentils are small and rounder, glossy and speckled green. They keep their shape if you take care cooking them and don’t have a mushy texture. They also have a deliciously spicy flavour that’s all their own.
Mom and I often had my brother in Montreal bring us big bags of Lentil du Puy but now you can buy them at the Bulk Barn.
This recipe is a new discovery of mom’s but one that’s become a favourite, found in the book Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten.
I used a local handmade sausage and baked the sausage in the oven first, at 325 F for about 40 minutes then sliced them into half-moons. My kids loved the honey garlic sausage best.
For vegetarians the soup is equally good without the sausage.
Green tip: As far as protein goes, lentils have a very low carbon footprint so are an eco-friendly food source as well as healthy. And they’re grown in Canada. In fact, Canada is the world’s biggest exporter of lentils.
Green tip: Look for local sausage made from well raised pigs rather than grocery store sausage from factory-farmed meat.
(Recipe serves 8-10 but can be halved)
Mom’s Lentil Sausage Soup
- 1 1/3 cups French green lentils (du Puy)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cups diced onions
- 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (can use onion)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ½ Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or ½ tsp. dried
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 cups medium-diced celery
- 1 ½ cups medium-diced carrots
- 1 1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ pound good sausage, cooked, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/3 inch thick
- 1 Tbsp. dry red wine or red wine vinegar
- In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are translucent and tender.
- Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes. Add the stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30-50 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender.
- Check the seasonings. Add the sausage and red wine or vinegar and simmer until the sausage is hot.