Lentil and Sausage Soup~

Adapted from Ina Garten

1 pound French green lentils

3 large yellow onions (about 4 cups),chopped

2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt (use less if your broth is salty)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste I used about 1 teaspoon)

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon ground cumin

8 stalks of celery (about 3 cups), chopped

4-6 carrots (about 3 cups), chopped

3 quarts chicken stock

1/4 cup tomato paste

1-1 1/2 pounds mild Italian sausage links, sliced and browned

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Parmesan, to garnish, optional

Cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stock pot, saute the onions, leeks and garlic in olive oil.  Add salt, pepper, thyme and cumin and cook till onions are soft.  Add carrots and celery and cook till almost tender.  Add stock, tomato paste, lentils and sausage and simmer for about an hour.

Check seasonings and add red wine vinegar.  Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan if desired.