I made this the other night and it was so good I wanted to share it with you. I had cut it out of a Bon Appetit magazine a while back, lost it, then found it again so I decided to try it. I tinkered with it a bit, so it is not the exact same recipe and it counts as large family frugal because you can up the amount of lentils and cut back the amount of sausage if you need to. My family really, really likes sausage so I went a bit heavy on it. I wouldn't then double the sausage if I needed to make more then, but just double the other ingredients. Does that make sense?
Here is the recipe as I made it the other night. Once again, even if you aren't feeding an army, I encourage you to make the full amount and then freeze the rest. It should freeze fine... not that I had any leftover to freeze.
Lentil soup with Spicy Italian Sausage
2 pounds spicy Italian sausage (you could also use mild, but lentils can be bland and we liked how the spicy sausage gave it some zip) - cut into slices... if you can. Ours were more like little blobs.
1 large onion - chopped
2 large carrots - peeled and sliced
2 large potatoes - peeled and cubed, ~1/2 inch dice
2 stalks celery - sliced
1 pound (or 2 1/3 C) brown lentils
3 quarts beef broth
fresh spinach - destemmed and washed
In a large pot, cook sausage until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a bowl. Add a little bit of olive oil the pot and saute the vegetables. Cook until onion is translucent and the vegetables begin to soften. Add the lentils, stir to coat. Add the beef broth (you can also add a little red wine if you are so inclined) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are softened, ~20 minutes. (Keep an eye on it and add more liquid if needed.) Add sausage and simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Stir in spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted, ~3 minutes. Serve.
Obviously, the more lentils you add, the more liquid you will need to add. This can be stretched quite a bit without having to add more of the expensive sausage.