Until my wife first fixed this after we were married, I had never had lentils before. The little gray-brown beans that look like spoiled split peas don’t soften up easily. Typically we’ll use a pressure cooker to cook them quickly. But you can simmer them on the stove until they are soft.

If you’ve never had lentils, this is a great introduction to them. Their meaty flavor is very unique and sets them apart from all the other beans in the legume family. Lentils are a staple in Colombia if the dish doesn’t use the traditional large red beans.

There’s nothing soupy about this. Hispanics call it soup, but we gringos would more likely call it a stew since a spoonful pretty much stays where you put it.

The potatoes add texture and color to this stew-like soup. Using a nice white potato that will hold its cube-like shape will help create different textures. The onions turn out translucent and helps meld the transition of color and an added note of flavor.

I’ve had this with and without the sausage. It’s just as good either way. Here I’ve recommended small circles of smoked breakfast sausage links. But the larger links like Polish or Italians that can be sliced work just as well, again adding a variation of texture and shapes in the soup.



Lentils soup



 2 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups dry lentils

1/2 onions chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

One bunch of cilantro chopped

1 packet of coriander and annatto seasoning (it’s made by Goya or found in Mexican ethnic food isles)

2 smoky link sausages

1/4 pound lean ground beef

2 potatoes diced

Water

Salt to taste



Preparation: Wash the lentils and soak in enough water to cover them with two inches of water to allow for expansion. Soak overnight, rinsing several times.

In a skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Then cook the hamburger and sausage, drain if necessary. Place all the ingredients in a pressure cooker and cover with water. Cook for about 10 minutes in a pressure cooker or cook until tender over a stove medium heat, season and serve.

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