1) Cut up the sausage. You can either cut the casing off the sausage and cook it that way or just chop the sausage into slices and brown them well. If you cut the casing off, you’ll have ground sausage throughout the finished dish. If you keep it whole you’ll have huge chunks of sausage.
2) In a large pot (that you’ll eventually cook the whole dish in), add a few Tablespoons olive oil and put it over medium-high heat.
3) Add sausage and cook it until it is cooked thoroughly and browned on all sides. Don’t throw the brown edges out or wash the pan!
4) Chop all the veggies really roughly.
5) Rinse the lentils under cold water to remove any dirt that’s on the little guys. And yes you want to use the whole pound.
6) Once the sausage is browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and quickly add all the veggies to the pan (except the spinach if you’re using it). The veggies will cook in the oil from the sausage! If it looks really dry, add another Tablespoon or two of olive oil.
7) Add whatever spices you are using. In this case I used thyme, red pepper flakes, and a bay leaf.
8) Let these veggies cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the lentils and stir for about thirty seconds to get the lentils warm and coated with all that delicious flavor.
9) Add the liquid. You can use any kind of stock you want or just water if you don’t have any good stock on hand.
10) Let this simmer for probably 20 minutes until the lentils are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid.
11) Stir in spinach in two or three batches.
12) Stir the sausage back into the mix and taste for salt and pepper. Serve it in a big bowl with a big spoon!