Red Lentil and Sweet Pepper Soup

Serves 8-10
  • 2-16 ounce boxes of red lentils
  • 2 medium carrot, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into large pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 4 slices of smoked bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 6 slices of pancetta, julienned
  • 3 quarts flavorful chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half-crosswise ½ cup dry white wine (or substitute 100ml dry white wine and 50ml dry sherry)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chardonnay vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. In the base of your Dutch oven, sweat smoked bacon, onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, and red peppers until the vegetables are very soft. Add in the lentils, cook for a few minutes. Then, add the stock to cover the lentils, bring to simmer and cook very gently until lentils are very soft, about 20-30 minutes. With a skimmer or slotted spoon, remove some of the lentils and set aside.
  2. After the lentils are cooked and very tender, transfer them to a food processor or blender, puree until very smooth.(Option: Once pureed, pass through a fine strainer,) Return this puree to a clean saucepot and bring to boil, add in the heavy cream, dry white wine, the chardonnay vinegar and Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Thin with a little more stock if necessary. Keep warm.
  3. In lid of Dutch oven, over high heat, saute the julienned pancetta until crisp. Add in the cooked lentils (that were reserved). Season to taste. Garnish bowls of soup with the bacon and lentil mixture.

Pro tip:

Lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. Change up the flavor profiles in this soup by substituting the cream with coconut milk and adding a tablespoon of red curry paste.

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