Lentils… Are you a fan? I love them. Nutty, earthy, and full of protein.When I got back from India this spring, I couldn’t stop eating Lentil Dahl for breakfast and now that the weather is getting colder, I’m on a lentil kick again.
Did you know Washington State is the #1 producer of lentils in the U.S.? According to Wikipedia, “the Palouse region of eastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle, with its commercial center at Pullman WA, constitutes the most important lentil-producing region in the United States.”
In fact, the Palouse is the self-proclaimed Lentil Capital of The World.
The Palouse – land of beautiful, golden rolling hills, wheat farms, lentil fields, and, of course, Pullman and Washington State University.
So, yeah, of course I’m a fan of lentils!
This lentil soup is based on a recipe in Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table cookbook. She calls her version Palouse Lentil & Sausage Soup. I felt the name wasn’t quite right. This soup is more Italian, more Moroccan, more Indian… just all around more international.
I’ve modified the ingredients and am calling my version Around the World Lentil Soup, which seems fitting, not only for the taste, but also because the majority of Palouse lentils are exported overseas. Americans just don’t seem to have the same appreciation for lentils as the rest of the world, but we should!
Of course, Marvin is not a big fan of lentils or legumes of any kind. But last night I served him a big bowl of this soup and watched, amazed, as he finish the entire thing. We did have leftover soup (this recipe makes 8 to 10 servings) but Marvin actually suggested we freeze it so we could share the soup with some friends next weekend. Okay, that is nothing short of a lentil ENDORSEMENT from my husband! Sometimes it just takes the right recipe, I guess.
So, if you feel like giving lentils a try, Marvin and I both recommend this delicious soup made with spicy Italian sausage, smokey Spanish paprika, fennel, cinnamon, cumin and hearty, brown lentils.
And, if you’re already a lentil fan, be sure to check out the National Lentil Festival in Pullman – it’s held annually every August.
- 10 oz. spicy Italian sausage, bulk or removed from casings
- 1 cup white onion, diced
- 1 cup fennel, diced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- ¾ tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. sweet smoked Spanish paprika
- ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp. fresh minced garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 - 14.5 oz cans petite diced tomatoes and their juice
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones
- 1 cup potato, peeled and diced
- sour cream for garnishing
- In a large soup pot, sauté the sausage over medium high heat, breaking it up and cooking for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the onions, fennel, and carrots. Continue cooking for a few minutes more until the sausage is fully cooked and the vegetables are soft.
- Add the cinnamon, black pepper, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, minced garlic and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and lentils.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes more, until the potatoes are tender.
- Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Remove the bay leaves and ladle soup into bowls. Serve sour cream on the side for garnishing.