Cold out? Need something to really warm your cockles? (does anyone really know where one’s cockles are located?). Well, this soup does the trick. The lentils, slow cooked with the pancetta, veggies and stock will definitely warm you to the core and make you smile.
Rustic Tuscan Lentil Soup
- 1 tbsp good olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 lb thinly sliced pancetta chopped (you can find this at the deli dept. of you super market)
- 2 strips of bacon chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 ribs of celery chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp fresh oregano chopped
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups green lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 russet potato peeled and diced
- 2 Italian sweets sausage links
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and then butter over medium heat until butter just starts to foam
- Add the pancetta and bacon and cook them until crispy...about 10 minutes
- Spoon out about 4 tablespoons of the grease...should leave about a 1/4 cup in the pan
- Add in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently
- Add the carrots, celery and onions and cook for about 12 minutes, until veggies are nice and tender.
- Add in the tomato sauce and then the chicken stock
- Add the bay leaves, salt, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper and lentils.
- Increase heat to medium-high, and bring the soup to a boil.
- Partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 45 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils and potatoes are tender. Add more stock if the soup becomes a little too thick.
- Meanwhile, remove the casings from the sausage links and cook in a small skillet, breaking up the meat with the back of your fork as it cooks. Cook until nicely browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add the cooked sausage, plus any juices to the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Taste the soup and add salt, if necessary.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Serve with toasted, crusty Italian bread.