Lentil and Kielbasa Salad

That something so simple could taste so good is a mystery to me.  The key seems to be the right kind of lentils (find them at Whole Foods or your local co-op) and some chemical reaction that happens when you boil them with a turnip.  The dressing has all the right savory notes to perfectly season the otherwise boring combination of lentils and a fairly plain-tasting sausage. This makes a great weeknight dinner with the addition of a crisp green salad and some corn chips or corn bread.

Lentil and Kielbasa Salad
Serves 6-8
Adapted from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten

Olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 cup green French Le Puy lentils, rinsed
1 whole peeled onion stuck with 6 whole dried cloves
1 small turnip
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tblsp Dijon mustard
5 Tblsp wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 green onions, sliced
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, minced
10 oz kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced (check for gluten)

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or similar heavy pot.  Add the leeks and cook uncovered over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for one minute.  Add lentils, onion, turnip and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Meanwhile make the dressing: whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil. Set the dressing aside.

Drain the lentils, discard the onion and turnip, and reserve some of the cooking liquid. Put the lentils in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss.  If it's too dry, add some of the cooking liquid.  Add the green onions, thyme, parsley and kielbasa. Mix well and set aside to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.