Lentil & Bacon Soup with Mushrooms & Thyme Cream

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Medium

    • Ready in

      55 min

Appears in

French Countryside Cooking

French Countryside Cooking

By Daniel Galmiche

Published 2021

  • About

Where I’m from in the Haute-Saône region of France we use lentils a lot, particularly the slate-green-coloured Puy lentils. The first record of the famous lentilles vert du Puy dates back to 1643, and the Puy lentil was awarded Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO) in 2009. Known as the “caviar of the poor”, the earthy flavour of these lentils blends beautifully with the pancetta, mushrooms and thyme.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g/ oz thick pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into small lardons
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 bouquet garni, made with 1 thyme sprig and 1 parsley sprig, tied together with kitchen string
  • 200 g/7 oz/1 cup Puy lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1.2 l/40 fl oz/ cups Vegetable Stock
  • 150 ml/5 fl oz scant ⅔ cup whipping cream
  • leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
  • 40 g/ oz unsalted butter
  • 100 g/ oz Paris, chestnut (cremini) or button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • crusty bread, to serve

    Method

    1. Heat a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil and pancetta and fry for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the shallot and carrot and cook for 2–3 minutes until slightly softened, then add the lentils, bouquet garni and stock. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 8 minutes. Pour in 100 ml/ fl oz/scant ½ cup of the cream, return to a simmer and cook for a further 7–8 minutes until the lentils are tender. Discard the bouquet garni.
    2. Ladle the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Return the soup to a saucepan and add a little water or more stock to the pan if the soup is very thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and keep warm.
    3. Whip the remaining cream until soft peaks form, then fold in two-thirds of the thyme and season with a touch of pepper.
    4. Heat a frying pan (skillet) over a high heat. Add the butter and when foaming, add the mushrooms and sauté for 3–4 minutes until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the remaining thyme. Divide the mushrooms into four shallow soup bowls, piling them in the middle and put a spoonful of the thyme cream on top. Finally ladle the soup around the mushrooms and cream and serve with crusty bread.

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