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Lentil Soup with Merguez Sausage and Smoked Paprika

By Heidi Allison

Smoky, slightly spicy North African lamb Merguez sausage is paired with sweet, smoked paprika in this hearty lentil and root vegetable stew. A nod to Moroccan fare and trendy French street food, this warm, earthy and not-too-“hot” dish is a substantial meal when paired with a fresh green salad and wine.

Lentils, those brownish-green pulse jewels with an earthy flavor and tender texture form the foundation of this dish, which is supported by sautéed sweet and savory aromatics which impart depth— carrots celery, leeks, garlic, rutabagas and turnips. Green Swiss chard wilts into the stew right before serving, adding just the right counterpoint bitter note to enhance the natural sugars of the root veggies.

To switch it up a bit, try topping the finished dish with a dollop of rich, creamy labneh, a drizzle of peppery olive oil or a tad of spicy red harissa right before serving. This is a deeply satisfying and balanced dish that freezes and reheats exceptionally well—if there are any leftovers…

Lentil Soup with Merguez Sausage and Smoked Paprika
4 as a main; 8 as a side

Ingredients for Lentil Soup with Merguez Sausage and Smoked Paprika

3 Tbs. olive oil
3 organic orange carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 organic white carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 bunch organic celery, medium dice
1 organic leek, white part only, thin-ly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 packages Melissa's Organic Steamed Lentils
1 organic rutabaga, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 organic turnip, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small Organic Russet Potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Merguez sausages
11 cups filtered water
2 leaves Organic Swiss Chard, stems and ribs removed, sliced into 1/2-inch strips

Seasoning mix

1 Tbs. unsalted ghee or butter
1 Tbs. coriander seeds
2 Tbs. cumin seeds
2 Tbs. smoked paprika
1 1/2 Tbs. smoked paprika

Place olive oil in a stock pot and heat on medium heat till warm. Add carrots, celery, leeks and garlic, then sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Sauté till just soft—about 10-15 minutes.

Crumble lentils with your fingers to break up and add to stock pot and gently stir. Add water, rutabaga, turnip, and potato and stir to combine.

Place ghee or butter in a 8-inch nonstick pan and heat on medium till sizzling. Add sea-soning mix and heat for 10 seconds or until paprika releases its fragrance. Immediately pour seasoning mix into stockpot with lentil stew mixture and stir to combine.

Bring soup to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour. Sprinkle final 1 1/2 tablespoons of smoked paprika into stew and stir to combine.

Remove lamb Merguez sausage from its casing and crumble between your fingers to break up, then add to soup and stir to combine.

Continue to cook for another 2 hours or until soup thickens and reduces by half.

Add Swiss chard and stir to combine until chard wilts. Remove from heat and serve.

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