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Lentil Soup with Sausage: A Twist on an Italian New Year’s Tradition

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New Year’s “good luck” foods are made and consumed throughout many regions of the world.

Here at home – particularly in the South - many believe that black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread will bring wealth and prosperity. In Ireland, buttered bread placed outside household doorways mark the wish for absence of hunger; in Spain, grapes or raisins – twelve of them – eaten at the stroke of midnight symbolize the expectation of good luck throughout all twelve months of the year, and in Asian regions, eating long and unbroken noodles brings the hope of good health and great luck in the coming year.

Italians have their own “good luck” traditional foods, primarily a dish of lentils – symbolizing tiny coins and thus prosperity – usually served with a large cooked sausage called “Cotechino”, which originated in Modena, Italy but is difficult to find in most parts of The States. Substituting any Italian sausage for the Cotechino is just fine by Italian Americans, and this recipe mixes it up a bit more by using a smoked chicken sausage flavored with Italian seasonings and mozzarella cheese, served in a rich lentil soup for a delicious and warming meal.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014!

Lentil Soup with Sausage
• One batch of Lentil Vegetable Soup (click here for the recipe)
• 1 package (12 ounces) smoked sausage (such as Aidells Italian Style smoked chicken sausage)

As the soup simmers, follow the cooking instructions for the smoked sausage. (Although most smoked sausages are fully cooked, sautéing, grilling, or baking them will bring out their smokiness and add a wonderful accent to the soup.)

Slice the cooked sausage into half-inch slices, and add them to the soup, simmering for another five to ten minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with olive oil and grated cheese if desired.

Serves 8 – 10.



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