Curried Lentil Soup with Kielbasa

We woke to mountains of white billowy drifts of snow this morning, some as high as five feet. Cars and shrubs were covered, and picket fences that yesterday separated us from neighboring yards were blanketed by snow. The landscape was punctuated only by the tiny red bows on our trees, vestiges of holiday color.

After a few hours of clearing and digging out, hot and spicy curried lentil soup seemed the perfect foil to 18 new inches of snow, in what is becoming a record-breaking winter.  This soup is filled with hearty, complex flavor, and its aromas filled the house in late afternoon. 

Ingredients

1 16-oz. bag dried lentils, looked over and rinsed with cold water
8 cups cold water
2 cans beef broth (about 3 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped (including some with celery leaves, minced)
4 large carrots, chopped
1 smoked ham hock
1 bay leaf
1 lb. Polish beef kielbasa, cut in 1/2" "half moons"
4 cloves minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
One package "Tasty Bite" chickpeas (seasoned with cumin and ginger)*

* Available at Costco   (www.costco.com)



To water and beef broth, add lentils, ham hock, vegetables, kielbasa, and all other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 1-1/2 hours, partially covered and stirring every 15-20 minutes.  During last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in chickpeas. 


When peas are thoroughly heated, serve with French bread and salad.