French Lentil Vegetable Soup

A really lovely fall recipe, from a mix of Once Upon a Chef and Ina Garten.

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  • 3 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth, best quality such as Swanson
  • 1 cup French lentils (lentilles du Puy), or common brown or green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • A few tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tbsp red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Fry the bacon in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil, onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and garlic, stirring constantly, then thyme, cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add lentils, tomato paste, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover partially, reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, 45-50 minutes (less for common lentils). Fish out bay leaves and discard.
  6. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until the broth is slightly thickened, or to desired consistency. (Do not purée too much or the soup will get too thick, and you’ll lose the integrity of the lentils.) If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer about 2 cups of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth, then return the blended soup to the pot.
  7. Stir in red wine or red wine vinegar.
  8. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and parmesan, and drizzle with olive oil if desired and serve. (Note: The soup may thicken as it sits; thin with a bit of water if necessary.)
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