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Sausage and Lentil Soup

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Ingredients You'll Need

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound garlic flavored sausage, such as kielbasa
7 ounces smoked ham, finely chopped
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 to 9 cups chicken stock or low-salt canned broth
1 1-pound can peeled tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 pound dried lentils (depending on desired thickness)
12 large spinach leaves, washed, trimmed and finely shredded (or 8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained)


Heat olive oil in 6-8 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until almost all fat is rendered. Transfer sausage to platter. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons grease from saucepan. Add ham, onion, green pepper and carrot to saucepan. Cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme and cumin. Cover and cook another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice sausage. Add to saucepan with chicken stock, tomatoes and lentils. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer gently until lentils begin to dissolve, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for several months.)

Discard any fat from surface. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer just until warmed through. Add shredded spinach. Serve immediately.


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