Lentil Soup with Lamb Sausage and Saffron

This lentil soup looks simple, but it’s a flavor BOMB. The broth is rich and deeply satisfying, enhanced with spices, saffron, the fat from the lamb sausage, and my new favorite secret weapon: better than bouillon mushroom stock base. Make this vegan by subbing the beef stock for vegetable stock and omitting the lamb sausage.

Serves 6

  • 3+ tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups french green lentils
  • 1 14 oz can diced san marzano tomatoes
  • 10 cups unsalted beef stock, or 8 cups beef stock and 2 cups water.
  • 1.5-2 tsp better than bouillon mushroom base (optional, see note)*
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • 1 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 10 oz lamb merguez sausage, diced
  • 1.5 cups of parsley, chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper, chili flakes, and salt to taste
  1. Heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp of oil, then the cumin seeds. Wait until the seeds sputter, then remove from the pan. 
  2. Add another 1.5 tbs of oil (or enough to coat the button of the pan) and add the onions and shallots. Cook over medium low for 10 minutes until deeply browned. 
  3. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add the dried thyme and ras el hanout and saute another minute. 
  5. Add the carrots, celery, and lentils, toasted cumin seeds, and saute 2 minutes. 
  6. Add the tomatoes, using your spoon the scape up any fond that has built up on the bottom of the pan. 
  7. Add the beef stock and mushroom base (start with 1.5 tsp) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. 
  8. Simmer until the lentils are tender – 45 minutes – 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom does not burn. 
  9. Add your sausage, sumac, sherry vinegar, and saffron. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add more mushroom base if desired, or opt for salt instead. Add chili flakes if desired. 
  11. Add parsley and remove from heat. Top with freshly ground pepper.