It is a time of year (if you are a stay-at-home mom like me) when you find yourself dumbfounded on how to pass the intervening eternity between 4pm and dinner time and end up reading lots and lots and lots and lots of children’s books.
It is a negotiation with your child—these hours of reading—between the good books (Olivia, Madeline, Paper Bag Princess) and the really, really terrible ones (any Thomas the Train fans out there?). I am always pleased when a library book turn up in the superb category. You rarely have enough time to proof read the week’s selections as they are being piled on the check-out desk. It is usually 50/50 if they are going to be worth reading—did I mention Thomas the Train?
A recent library discovery was a wonderful book by Joe Lasker titled Lentil Soup. It’s an endearing tale in which a very well-meaning and extrodinarily patient wife tries to make lentil soup for her husband. Tension builds as with every attempt he shuns her soup and says it is not like his mother’s lentil soup. After a week of this torture, she finally becomes fed up (why it took her that long, I’m not sure) and she storms out of the house only to leave the soup over the fire where it burns to hell. That night she serves him the soup anyway (finally she comes to her senses), and guess what? He loves it! “Now this lentil soup is just like my mother’s lentil soup.” He says to her. And do you know what she does? She dumps that bowl of soup right on his head! Now that is one book I don’t mind reading over and over again.
Just a cooking note: It will be much easier to slice the sausage if it is slightly frozen. Stick the sausage in the freezer for about 30 minutes and it will be just firm enough to easily slice.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces (slightly frozen) sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 medium onion, small dice
- 2 medium carrots, small dice
- 2 celery stalks, small dice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound lentils, rinsed well
- 6 cups water
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups packed baby spinach, washed
- Heat oil in a large 6-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add sausage and brown. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.
- Add tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Return sausage to pot along with lentils, water, broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in spinach, and add more salt and pepper if necessary, and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 211Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 282mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g