Lentil soup with Italian sausage and escarole
- 1 2/3 cups lentils (11 ounces), rinsed well
- 5 cups water
- 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 pound escarole, chopped (4 cups packed)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a 4-quart pot, uncovered, 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, celery, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.