With football months away, we turn again to vinegar, the secret ingredient in so many delicious things. Tonight's recipe is easy. I made this soup, and made my roommate try it. The first words he said were "Is this a recipe... or is this your fascination with vinegar?" But he had to admit, it works better than you'd think.
French Lentil Soup
* all ingredients are "enough." Use enough lentils to make as much soup as you'd like, enough sausage as you'd like, etc...
smoked sausage (such as kielbasi or andouille)
It's this easy: put lentils in a pot with water, add salt and a healthy portion of black pepper, bring to a boil, and simmer. They'll take a good while to get soft, so you have plenty of time for whatever else. Cut the sausage into quarter inch slices, and brown them on both sides in a separate pan. I had my pan on too high and my sausage got a little charred, but that worked out well, anyway. Take them out, cut them into little pieces, and throw 'em in with the lentils. Let your lentils simmer for a while, adding water as is necessary. After a while they'll become tender, and then the soup will start to thicken as they dissolve and release their lentil-ness into the water (my soup started to audibly bubble at this point.)
Now, add a good healthy dose of balsamic vinegar. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's pure brilliance. Vinegar is the ingredient that gives a crackle to the taste of good barbeque. It turns paprika, mustard, and brown sugar into pit-cooked lip-smackin' goodness. And it does the same thing to the sausage and the pepper in this soup. The lentils provide just enough heartiness to balance out the tart vinegar and the smoky sausage.