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Although I made this hearty, interesting and fabulous soup for dinner the night we were trimming our Christmas tree – it would be absolutely perfect for any cozy winter night by the fire. I served it with Mexican Cornbread – which produced an incredible combination of multi-cultural flavors, just as there is a wonderful combination of cultures in our family – and in each case, all of the components harmoniously compliment each other.


homemade sausage and lentil soup


1 pound ground pork

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1 teaspoon fennel pollen

1 teaspoon onion powder

a few grates of fresh nutmeg


1 cup dried lentils

2 bay leaves

1 onion, halved

1/2 teaspoon salt


3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking

1 potato, peeled

2 carrots, peeled

1 onion

3 cloves garlic

2 ribs celery

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

salt and pepper

4 cups beef stock


freshly grated pecorino-romano cheese

In a large bowl combine the ground pork, salt and pepper, vinegar, parsley, garlic, crushed red pepper, fennel seed, fennel pollen, onion powder and nutmeg. Let stand for 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, place the lentils with the bay leaves, onion and salt. Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil and cook until tender but with some bite, 20 to 22 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaves and onion.

Meanwhile in a medium pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Using a food processor, pulse the vegetables, half of the chopped parsley and rosemary leaves from sprigs, until chopped. Transfer to pot. Season, cover and let ingredients sweat in the oil, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until brown and crumbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir sausage into soup along with the cooked lentils. Serve the soup in bowls and top with the reserved parsley and the pecorino-romano.


Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine



mexican cornbread

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 (16-ounce) can of cream-style corn

1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (8 1/2 ounce) package corn muffin mix

jalapeño slices

Heat oven to 350F. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix corn, cheeses, flour, salt and cornbread mix. Add jalapeño if using (I placed slices on top of half the pan, but didn’t add any to the mix). Add egg mixture to corn mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.


Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, January 2013