Lentil Sausage Soup

This is one of my all-time favorite soups to make. It's healthy (mostly) and freezes awesomely. Everyone I've served it to has shared their love for it too! Yay!

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound green lentils
1 pound hot sausage (Bob Evans, Jimmy Dean or Owens are what I normally use)
1/4 cup olive oil
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 1/2 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)
3 quarts Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

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, cook the sausage as you would ground beef. Drain, but don't rinse the cooked meat. Next, heat the olive oil and saute 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 saute for another 10 minutes. Add the cooked sausage, 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. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

This recipe makes a TON of soup. If your are serving 4 or less, I would half the recipe.
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