Rich, hearty, easy, and crowd-pleasing, this soup has satisfied many a guest in my house – and you'd never guess how economical it is to make. My husband first found this recipe in one of our great Jacques Pepin compendium cookbooks (gotta love Jaques), made it for his folks visiting from out of town, and it immediately earned a spot of honor in our regular family repertoire.
Somehow just two sausage links imbue the entire stockpot of soup with their robust flavor (some of the credit certainly goes to our pro butchers: New Pi's house-made sausages of local pork pack in a lot more flavor than you'll get elsewhere). This recipe perfectly suits our household's desire to use meat as a flavoring rather than the focal point of a meal, although I swear even hot-blooded carnivores would think there's a lot more meat in this than there is. When was the last time you fed 8-10 people a sausage-ish meal with only two links? Jacques is a genius – gotta hand it to him.
Plus, it couldn't be easier: throw everything in the pot, and simmer.
Leftovers? (You'll probably have lots unless you're feeding a wolf pack.) Throw it in a mason jar and bring it for lunch the next day (and since you'll still have more leftovers, pack it into individual portion freezer containers for quick lunches throughout the next month).
Jacques Pepin’s Lentil, Barley, & Sausage Soup
1 lb. lentils, washed and drained
1⁄2 c. pearl barley
2 qts. chicken stock (Better Than Bouillon, made a little light, works great)
2 qts. water
2 hot New Pi house-made Italian sausages, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 T. herbes de Provence
1 T. salt
2 medium leeks, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and washed
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (about 2 c.)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (about 3⁄4 c.)
5 large cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and coarsely chopped (about 2 T.)
1⁄2 t. hot sauce, or offer it at the table (optional)
1⁄2 c. grated Monterey or Pepper Jack Cheese
Place all of the ingredients except the hot sauce and cheese in a large pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and cook gently for 1 1⁄2 hours.
Emulsify the soup with a handheld immersion blender for 8-10 seconds to make the mixture somewhat creamy. Or, process 2 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor for 20 seconds, then combine the purée with the remaining soup.
Add the hot sauce to the soup or offer it at the table for individual garnishing. Serve with the grated cheese.
Note: When reheating leftover soup, thin it, if necessary, by adding a little water. Enjoy!
More Fantastically Frugal Recipes: Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter