Cozy yet not heavy, this is a great soup for seasonal transitions.
INGREDIENTS serves 4
4 slices bacon (sugar and nitrate-free, if possible), chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped, leaves reserved and slivered
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves)
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup brown or green lentils, soaked* (see note below)
4 cups chicken bone broth or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
fresh squeeze of lemon
NOTE: (even though lentils cook quickly, they are even more digestible and nourishing if covered with water and 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar and soaked for 4 – 12 hours)
Place bacon in saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 7 – 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels.
Stir in onion, celery, and carrot to the remaining bacon fat and stir to coat, then cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and herbs, stir again. Cook unti vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.
Drain the lentils if soaking and add them to the saucepan along with the stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Stir occasionally while cooking. When done, add in the bacon.
Adjust seasoning to taste, place into serving bowls and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and slivered celery leaves.
May your days be truly delicious and satisfying!