Barefoot Contessa's Sausage and Lentil Soup

Winter is here, so it is time to eat warm soupy goodness. I have always loved soups, but since getting interested in cooking, i have really grown a new appreciation for them. It is hard to think I used to think all soups came from a red and white striped can or from a box!  The Barefoot Contessa's Sausage Lentil soup is one of my favorite hearty soups out there.  This is the Missenda-ification of it to make it edible in our house (and not have soup for days)

1 cup green lentils
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 head roasted garlic
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tbl salt
3/4 tsp groutnd black pepper
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
6 cups stock
2 tbl tomato paste
14 oz turkey kielbasa
2 tbl red wine vinegar

1.  Place lentils in a bowl and cover with boiling water, allowing to sit for 15+minutes.  Drain.

2. Chop up the carrots and celery.  I chop them coarsely, sto allow the veggie haters to identify them.  In a stock pot, heat the olive oil up with the carrots, celery, salt, peper, theme, and cumin.  Saute for about10 minutes.  

3.  Add tomatoe paste, stock, roasted garlic, and lentils.  Stir well.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about an hour until the lentils are tender.  Add the kielbasa and vinegar and simmer until cooked.

As I said before, this is one of my favorite soups.  My cousin Abby itroduced me to it 5 years ago, and it comes out every winter at least once.  She also introduced me to the idea of using roasted garlic in lieu of onions.  I have to say, I loved the sweet garlicy taste that was imparted with this switch.  This was the first time I actually roasted garlic, and wow was it easy.  I see this substitution coming up in my future.  

We enjoyed this with some delicious sourdough bread from the bakery.  I love that this is hearty and filling and so healthy.  I *think* David liked it; he wasn't totally turned off by the lentils this time around.  We easily made 5 filling servings from this soup, so I have some for lunch and some frozen for a treat later in the winter.  A little more vegetabe would extend it evenfurther.  Plus, I will admit, I enjoy having oppertunitites to bring out "Big Red".  I have never had something made using Big Red come out anything short of successful.  

Here is to some more warm soup this frigid winter!

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