(Prep Time: 30 minutes. Cooking Time: 6-9 hours)
½ pound, dried lentils
4 cups, water
3 links mild or hot Italian sausage depending on preferences
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 (32 ounce) box chicken broth
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons, Worcestershire sauce
½ cup parmesan cheese to top soup when serving
1. Place lentils in a large stockpot, add water and heat until water is boiling. Cover, and remove stockpot from heat. Let lentils sit in the hot water for 15 minutes, then drain water and place lentils in a slow cooker.
2. Place sausage in a skillet and brown on both sides, adding a little water at a time to prevent burning. Remove from heat and cut sausage into ½ inch pieces. Add sausage to slow cooker.
3. In the skillet that the sausage was cooked in (don’t wash or wipe!), sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 3-4 minutes. Add these vegetables to slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-9 hours.
4. Prior to serving, use a potato masher to mash some of the beans in the slow cooker. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.