Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lentils

When I studied in Spain, one of my favorite things to eat was lentils or lentejas, especially when I lived in the dorms while doing my masters coursework at the University of Salamanca. Lentejas was the one of the dishes that I could always count on to be excellent. I love Spanish food, but the cafeteria at the dorm was really good at messing it up!

I had never made lentil soup at home until recently. My husband is on a dried bean kick, so I bought every type of dried bean I could get at Walmart and pledged to try them out for him. My friend from college gave me a recipe for a lentil soup, but when I got the urge to fix it, I didn't have all of the stuff. Since we're limited on groceries we can buy around here in nowhereland and since I have a tendency to decide to cook something at the last minute, I had to make do. We always had potatoes and/or sausage in lentils in Spain. I didn't have potatoes, but I did use turkey sausage to keep them as healthful as possible. The lentils turned out really nicely, so I thought I'd share!

Lentil Soup

1 16 oz. bag lentils
2 T olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups water
salt & pepper
1 pkg. fully cooked turkey sausage (or other sausage)
bay leaves

Cook lentils according to package instructions, adding salt to taste, and remove from heat when softened but not mushy. Drain and set aside. (I don't know if you're supposed to drain them, but I did!) In a large pot, sautee bell pepper, onions, and garlic in olive oil until soft.



Add tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes. To tomato mixture, add lentils, bay leaves, and four cups of water. Slice turkey sausage in bite sized pieces and add to soup.



Simmer for 30 minutes or more for more flavor (up to an hour or two).