If you read my blog frequently, you already know we like soup; a lot.
Lentil soup is one of our favorites. If you don't like lentil soup because the texture is mushy, try using green or French du Puy lentils. They are more solid and firmer than brown lentils with an earthy taste.
I made a double batch of this soup last week. While the weather is still cold, there will be a lot more soup making around here. The nice thing about making a large pot is that you can jar it up and share. I freeze the some of the jars for future meals as well. Make sure that you leave at least 2 inches of headroom in your jars when you fill them. The soup expands when it freezes and you don't want broken jars and contaminated, unsafe soup.
1/2 pound of kielbasa sausage (pre-cooked), sliced
1 pound of French green lentils, picked through
4 cups of chopped yellow onions (about 3 large)
4 cups of chopped leeks, white part only (about 2 large leeks)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (use only as much as needed for sauteing vegetables)
1 tablespoons of kosher salt
1½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of minced fresh thyme leaves (or you can use 1 teaspoon of dried)
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
3 cups of medium-diced celery (about 8 stalks)
3 cups of medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
3 large red or white potatoes (not russets, they break down too much), cubed
3 quarts of chicken stock
1 quart of beef stock
¼ cup of. tomato paste (about ½ of a 6 oz. can)
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a large pot over medium heat, sweat the onions, leeks, and garlic in the olive oil. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin and sweat for 20 minutes until the veggies are tender and translucent. Add olive oil as needed to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan, being careful not to let the vegetables brown. Add the celery and carrots, and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the stocks, tomato paste, kielbasa and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings. Add half of the red wine vinegar, taste it and add the rest if you want more. Serve hot, sprinkled with grated Parmesan.
Serves 12 generously.