The lentil is considered one of the eight first domesticated crops grown by Neolithic cultures in the Fertile Crescent and they have made up an important part of the diet of humans ever since. This ‘practically forever’ time period, may account for why there are lentil dishes in almost every culture since Adam.
The Lentil is highly nutritious with a protein content of 26%, is one of the best plant sources of iron, and is very high in fiber. It may not be pretty but it can be delicious. Here is a recipe for a hearty lentil soup that my family loves and we hope you will too. I usually make this recipe in a Crockpot or slow cooker in the morning so it is ready and waiting by dinner. Serve it with a crusty loaf of French bread, a dollop of sour cream, and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.
Smoky Lentil Soup
3 T Olive Oil
1 lb Smokies or German style Sausages, sliced on the bias
1 C Carrots, diced
1 Onion, diced
1 C potatoes, diced
½ C Flour
1 ½ C Lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones
3 Quarts water (for added flavor, subtract 1 cup water and add 1 cup of your favorite red wine)
4 T beef base
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2-3 Bay leaves
1 tsp Thyme
1. In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, brown the sausage in a tablespoon of oil, then remove, and place in slow cooker. Add the onions, carrots and remaining oil to the skillet and sauté until al dente, about 5-8 minutes. Add flour to the carrots and onions and mix until it has dissolved and creates a paste-like consistency. Put in slow cooker with sausages.
2. Rinse Lentils and add to slow cooker along with the potatoes, nutmeg, pepper, bay leaves, and thyme.
3. Mix beef base with water and wine and add to slow cooker. Give it all a quick stir and you’re done. Cook until lentils are soft and soup is thickened. About 3-5 hours. For a creamy texture, puree about half the soup and remix before serving.