The bouquet of leafy celery struggling to stay alive in a tall glass of water on my countertop was the inspiration behind this soup. I chopped it leaves and all, sauteed it in a bit of canola oil with 4 fat cloves of garlic (crushed) and a spicy Spolumbo’s Italian sausage, squeezed out of its skin (from the freezer; freed up at least 4 square inches of space); when brown bits started to accumulate on the bottom I poured in a tetra pack of chicken stock and a baggie of lentils and barley I had cooked extra of and frozen last time I made that lentil-barley salad. I usually just add a can of lentils to this particular soup, but the barley was a very good idea. And easy to thaw; open the bag, tap in some hot water, seal it again and sit it in the sink, then pour out the water and pour the lentils and barley into the pot. Mike was quite smitten with this soup, even though he has met many of its first cousins before; he even asked how I made the broth. (Even water would have sufficed with the spicy sausage, garlic and celery; that’s how you make stock, after all.)
Although he refuses to eat soup anymore, after dinner W attempted to consume the contents of his bathtub with a spoon. It kept him busy for awhile, anyway.