This recipe comes to us from Mary Gallahue.

Ingredients:
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium, (1 large) onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
7-10 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (can also use ½ water)
1 cup of dried lentils
2-3 carrots, chopped
3-4 ribs celery, with tops, chopped
1-2 small potatoes, diced
½ cup of chopped parsley

Spices:
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano

Optional:
½ pound of sausage (links or loose) of your choice
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions:
1. If you are using sausage (Cut the links in ½ inch sections.), you may need a bit more oil to cook it in. Use the same soup pan that you will fix the rest of the soup in. Heat oil. Cut up the sausage and brown, then lower heat to cook through. Set aside in paper towels to catch the oil.

2. If you have cooked sausage you will have a little oil left in the pan. Dump in the onions and garlic. Add oil if needed. Scrap the bottom and pull up the sausage bits. Cook onions/garlic until color changes.

3. Add liquid (start with 7-8 cups of stock/water and add remainder as needed), carrots, celery, potatoes, half of the parsley. Wash and pick over the lentils. Remove any debris and hard lentils. Add the lentils to the soup.

4. Add all the spices, starting with ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Add more (cayenne or black pepper, salt) as desired after cooking for 1 ¼ hours (see below).

5. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer. Cook for 1 ¼ hours. Check the lentils. They should be expanding and softening. Add sausage, rest of parsley. Check for seasonings. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or longer depending on the lentils.

Serves 6-8 people.

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