Lentil and Sausage Soup

This soup is so amazing. I wish I was eating it right now... yum. Delicious. Lentil soup takes me back to childhood. We have a great family friend who made a great lentil soup and would bring it to the house for a family meal. I decided that I needed to create my own version of this old favorite. This recipe is so easy and very yummy. Lentils are great to cook with because they don't require the same amount of soaking/cooking time as beans, but they still give a hearty flavor. Enjoy- I am off to do more holiday candy making!
1 lb uncooked lentils
1 lb kielbasa sausage, quartered and diced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 onion, diced
3 quarts chicken stock
8 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 T olive oil
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
3 T red wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

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, saute onions, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon, and cumin until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes). Stir in tomato paste. Add chicken stock, red wine, and bay leaf. Stir well. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow soup to gently simmer for an hour. Add sausage and simmer for an additional half hour. Serve and top with grated parmesan cheese.

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