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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', 'Accompaniment: croutons']

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.

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