To make a lentil soup that's anything but run-of-the-mill, we started with black beluga lentils, which cook quickly but hold their shape. Sausage adds savoury sustenance, and a whole head of mustard greens imparts some peppery bitterness and a pleasant chew. Finally, lots and lots of black pepper and a final splash of red wine vinegar keep things vibrant. This hearty, one-pot soup comes together in under an hour, so get cooking and it could be tonight's dinner. Here's how to do it:
Heat some olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Chop and sauté 3 carrots, an onion, half a head of fennel (save the fronds for later!), and 3 garlic cloves until everything starts to get nice and soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add a pound of sweet Italian sausage with the casings removed, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage is browned and the veggies are tender, then season with salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper. This isn't the time to be shy with the pepper—Damuck loves the added warmth that a healthy dose of the stuff brings to hearty soups like this one. If you'd like, throw in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (you can leave them out if you're cooking for the kids).
Add 8 cups of chicken stock, a cup of lentils, and 2 bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid is reduced, 35-45 minutes. You're going for a stew-like consistency, so having just a little liquid is a good thing.
Just before serving, stir in one head of mustard greens torn into bite-size pieces, and a teaspoon of red wine vinegar. The greens will get nice and wilted (kale or Swiss chard work, too), and the vinegar helps to brighten everything up and add a little kick. Top each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve with toasted slices of good, crusty bread.
Here’s Your Shopping List
3 medium carrots, peeled, 1 chopped onion, chopped½ head fennel, chopped3 garlic cloves, minced, 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakesKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 8 cups chicken stock, 2 bay leaves, 1 cup black beluga lentils, 1 head mustard greens, torn into bite-size pieces, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Sour cream, olive oil, fennel fronds, and toasted crusty bread, for serving
This story originally appeared on Bon Appetit.