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Lentil Soup, A New Years Day Tradition

A new year is about to knock on our door and I wanted to start of my blog with something that is to my family, a new years day tradition. Growing up, January 1st served up the same annual meal designed to bring us luck for the next 365 days. One of my absolute favorite parts was my Nonna Mary’s Lentil Soup with sausage. I fell in love with it not only because it’s delicious, but also because while my cousins and I would eat elbow to elbow at the kid’s table, my Grandpop Louie would stand next to us, talking loudly while shaking quarters and dimes out of his grandpop-sweater onto the floor below. By the time we finished our soup, the ground would be awash in shiny coins, a magical sign from the lentil soup fairy of the riches and joys that the following year was sure to bring.

Lentil soup, tough to get a good picture of but very easy to eat!

Nonna Mary's Lentil Soup

Serves 4 – 6 people

1 Pound sweet sausage, removed from casing

2 Celery Stalks finely chopped

2 Carrots finely chopped

2 White potatoes diced

½ Onion finely chopped

3 Cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 6 ounce can of Tomato Paste or you can use 10 ounces of tomato passata

1 Cup of lentils

3 Cups of chicken stock with 1 T of passata or tomato paste (have more stock on standby if your soup becomes too thick)

Olive Oil

Lentils from the region of Umbria, are the best you can get, and I'm not just saying that because that is where my family is from.

Heat oil in a large soup pot, add sausage and break it up with a wooden spoon until brown. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.

Saute the celery, carrots, onions and garlic for 3 – 5 minutes, until soft and garlic is golden brown.

Add potatoes, toss, and return the sausage to the pot, cook for 5 minutes.

Mix your tomato paste with 1/2 cup of warm water and add to the pot. If using pasta, don't add water.

Add 1 cup of lentils, S & P and stir.

Add 3 cups of chicken stock, bring soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 – 30 minutes. Be sure to add more chicken stock if your soup becomes too thick.

Serve this hearty soup with a crusty chunk of Italian bread!

Take Note: You can make some easy adjustments to this recipe. Feeding a vegetarian? You can lose the sausage and the soup is still amazing! Laying low on carbs? You can clip to potatoes as well. Though I wouldn't eliminate both, it's a one or the other situation!

I hope you love this lentil soup recipe as much as my family and I do! Let me know how it turns out and be sure to serve it up on New Years Day for that extra pinch of good luck in the new year.

Grandma Mary dances at her wedding, in the shadow of the cookie tower and my great-grandmom Sistilia

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