Monday, April 4, 2011
Jane's Bacon and Lentil Soup
¾ cup small red lentils
1 bay leaf
4 cups stock or water
10-12 slices thick smoked bacon (10-12 ounces uncooked), cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
You can add some fennel and some red and yellow pepper, chopped, if you have them on hand
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 large beefsteak tomato or comparable smaller ones, peeled, cored, seeded, saving the juice and adding it to the soup. See instructions below.
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
1 green onion, both white and green parts, thinly sliced
Sour cream or crème fraiche, optional
1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the lentils, bay leaf, and stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. They will change from an orange color to a muddy yellow—do not be alarmed.
2. In a soup pot, cook the bacon pieces over low to medium heat, turn as needed to brown but not crisp. Remove from the pan, leaving the bacon fat. If there is a large amount of bacon fat, you might want to pour some of it into a container to save for another use. Leave 1-2 tablespoons in the pot.
3. Add the onions to the soup pot and sauté over medium heat until tender and starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, the cooked lentil mixture, ¾ of the bacon (save some for a garnish), the oregano, cumin, and mint and stir until mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Adjust seasonings to suit you.
5. Ladle into bowls. Garnish each serving with the sliced green onion, bacon and sour cream, if desired.
Adapted from Sara Perry’s Everything Tastes Better with Bacon
This cornbread is delicious with the soup.
How to peel and seed tomatoes
Some recipes will call for peeling alone, leaving the seeds. Some will call for seeding alone, leaving the skin in tact. Here are instructions for the whole process which you can modify as you see fit.