It's a great day for soup. A great week for soup. A great month for soup. I actually made the soup yesterday but thankfully there are leftovers because we sure do need it today! The snow has been coming down non stop and the plows have not come down our street. So yeah, Nick got stuck. Unfortunately he didn't get stuck on our street, he got stuck on another side street. He claimed it was about four blocks away. He was wrong! It was about 10 blocks away. As we trudged through the snow covered streets, shovels in hand to dig him out, all I could think about was coming home and having a bowl of soup. I was all set to make that damn pasta tonight, but alas, those plans have changed!
Start with a half of a large sweet onion, chopped.
Saute it in a large pot in about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. When they start to turn translucent, add a Tablespoon of oregano and one pound of rinsed brown lentils. Saute them together for a few minutes.
Then add six cups of liquid. This could be water with an appropriate amount of instant chicken base added, or chicken broth or stock. You can add four cups of broth and 2 cups of water. However you want to do it, just get six cups of liquid in the pot. And then be careful about how you salt this. If you're using canned or boxed broth, add only a small amount of salt (if any really). If it's water and chicken base, again, very little if any. If it's your own broth, the you know how much salt you have in it and add accordingly. Cook the lentil mixture in the liquid for about 30 minutes. Then add your other vegetables. Carrots, celery, parsnips, whatever you want. I added carrots and parsnips, cut into big chunks.
Cook all this together for another half an hour. Then add your sausage. I used the Slovene that we bought at Al's Quality Market. The sausage you use should be already cooked. So if you want to use fresh sausage, cook it first. The Slovene his mild and a little smoky. It was perfect for this soup. Any mild smoked sausage would do. Or any hot smoked sausage for that matter.
You really only need to cook it another 10-15 minutes after the sausage is added. That's just enough time for the sausage to heat up and release it's flavor into the soup. It changes the whole dish, in a really really good way.