Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lentil Sausage Soup

When the weather is cold outside, I crave a steaming hot bowl of soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, which is one of my favorite easy comfort meals—so soothing! This chunky soup is full of flavor, and with all the vegetables, it’s also pretty healthy.

* For a vegetarian version, simply substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock and (obviously) omit the kielbasa.

Lentil Sausage Soup, Barefoot in Paris

1 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 pound kielbasa, cut in ½ lengthwise and sliced ⅓-inch thick
2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

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