French Lentil Soup with Smoked Sausage

Ingredients:

1 cup French green lentils (these are the tiny, hard to find ones sometimes call du Puy,)

1-2 Tbsp Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil Garlic or mild-medium Single Varietal of Choice, plus extra for serving. You might even want to try a spicy Flying Olive EVOO such as Chipotle or Harissa or add a few drops at the end for a little kick

1 cup diced yellow onions (1 large)

1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)

3 large cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp kosher salt, more after tasting finished product, if desired

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, more after tasting finished product, if desired

½ tsp dried or 1 ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced

1/2 tsp ground cumin, optional

1 ½ cups celery (about 4 stalks), diced

1 ½ cups carrots (about 4 carrots), diced

6 cups Veggie or Chicken Stock

1 Tbsp tomato paste or ¼ cup diced Fire roasted tomatoes

1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into ½" pieces (pie-shaped pieces)

1 Tbsp Flying Olive A-1 Premium Dark Balsamic, Neapolitan Herb Balsamic, or red wine

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:

Boil 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. While this is boiling, rinse and sort the lentils in a sieve. Place in a large bowl. Cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cut up all the veggies. (I cheated and put the onions, shallots and garlic in my food processor and roughly chopped them. I placed these in a large bowl and then chopped the celery and carrots. Julia Child would weep, but I didn't!) Place the onions, shallots, and garlic in one bowl, the carrots and celery in another.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil of choice and sauté the onions, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. (Mine were small so I reduced the cooking time).

Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes. Add the veggie or chicken stock, tomatoes, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender.

During the last 15 minutes, add the cut-up smoked sausage to a skillet over low-medium heat. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until the sausage is slightly cooked. Drain on paper towels.

Check the seasonings. Add the smoked sausage and Flying Olive A-1 Premium Dark Balsamic or red wine. Simmer until the smoked sausage is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Submitted by Barb L.