Almost annually we host International students and currently we have a student from Spain (small town near Madrid) living with us for the school year. It’s his first time leaving Spain and traveling so far from home. He’s done remarkably well during the holidays and missing his family all things considered.
He likes to cook and loves to eat even more. So he and I get along amazingly well since we both love to cook and of course eat. One of the dishes he says he misses the most is his Momma’s sausage and lentil stew. Made with small brown lentils. Did you know lentils are considered pulses and extremely good for you. Just 1 cup of lentils = 6.59 mg of iron. So if you are feeling like you are lacking in iron, lentils are a great way to add more iron, fiber and vitamin A to your diet.
He and I have talked about this stew many times. Because I ask a lot of questions. This week it was added it to our weekly menu and last night I attempted to recreate it. I wasn’t nervous at all, after all his mom makes it all the time. No pressure right? I patiently waited as he took his first bite. And his face lit up. He took another bite. And then he told me he couldn’t believe how similar it tasted to his mom’s. I was so excited I almost peed a little.
He tells me his version of this dish is a stew and thicker. They add potatoes into the stew while cooking it which would help thicken it. I opted to finish our soup with diced, cooked potatoes mixed with fresh parsley, lemon and olive oil. This mixture complimented the soup perfectly.
We simply adore this young man and have gotten to know his parents a little. You know sometimes you just click with people, well it was like that with this family. I hope we get to go to Spain one day and meet them. I’m sure the wine, food and interesting conversation would free flow non stop.
This soup is hearty and super flavourful. We’ve added Spolumbo’s Sausage which is a locally made, preservative and gluten free sausage. The cured sausage in this soup is also locally made, called shremska and available at The Italian Store. A very healthy meal indeed.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 5 mild fresh Italian sausages
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped leaves included
- ½ cup cured sausage, chopped
- 1 tsp fennel
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 cups brown lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 cups chicken stock
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup cooked potatoes
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- pinch of lemon zest
- squeeze of lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Cut casings of fresh sausages and squeeze sausage into hot pot. Break up the chunks using a potato masher. Cooke until nicely browned. Remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
- In pot add another drop of olive oil if needed, then onions, carrots and celery. Mix in cured sausage, fennel, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Add lentils, bay leaves, chicken stock and smoked paprika. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium, add Italian sausage and simmer until lentils are tender, adding more broth as needed and cooking up to 45 minutes if needed to soften lentils.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with potato parsley mix.