I come from a soup-loving family. Growing up, it was not unusual for dinner to be soup with a board of fruit, cheese, and bread. There’s always a few different kinds of soup in my parents’ fridge and even more containers in the freezer. Lentil soup is a particular family favorite, but it wasn’t until I moved to Pittsburgh that I discovered the gloriousness that is Kielbasa and what it does for a lentil soup.
Pittsburgh is an amazing place for meat in general, but I’ve found this city is particularly big into sausage. The Steel City has an incredible history. Like many other U.S. cities, starting in the 1850s Pittsburgh experienced significant waves of immigrants, particularly from Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe. You can see the influence of these cultures all over the city, and specifically from a food perspective this ranges from Polish grocers to an annual pickle festival called Picklesburgh. There is a stunning amount of great sausage – of all varieties – to be found in and around this city and it’s been one of my favorite foodie things to learn about and explore since we moved here from Connecticut.
This is a pretty traditional lentil soup. There are so many different ways you can go with flavor so I’m giving a base version you could make spicy, add more seasoning, etc. There’s a good amount of veggies to back up the lentils, and the smoked paprika really reinforces the earthy flavors in the dish. Sometimes I love just a simple, classic soup.
You don’t HAVE to put sausage in this soup…yes, lentil is a great vegetarian soup and would be *fine* if you skipped the meat. But I really love the smoky, rich flavor and textural contrast that sliced sausage adds.
I mixed brown and French green lentils here, but you could stick with just brown. If you want to really speed things up, use good canned lentils and you’re serving in under 30 mins. Trader Joe’s has these great “Steamed Lentils” and I love how much time they save.
Lentil Soup with Kielbasa
- 2 cups dried lentils, I use brown and green
- 8 cups of stock
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red and 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 Kielbasa or 4-6 sausages, sliced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, add oil over medium high heat, then brown the sliced sausage on both sides, about 5 minutes.
Once all sides have color, remove and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and add the onions, peppers, and carrots, and cook the vegetables for another 5 minutes, stirring.
Add seasoning, stir until mixed, and then add the stock and lentils and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, cover, and allow lentils to cook 30 minutes, or until tender.
Puree the soup (I use an immersion hand blender) and then add the sausage back into the soup to warm through and serve.