Bacon and Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1–1½ lb / 455–680 g knuckle of bacon
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tbsp peppercorns
  • 8 oz / 230 g blonde lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt

Method

Soak the knuckle of bacon in water for 20 minutes. Put all the prepared vegetables except for one onion, in a large saucepan. Put the bacon knuckle on top, and cover with plenty of water. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2 hours, until you have plenty of good stock and the meat is tender.

While the stock is simmering, soak the lentils for 30 minutes, then drain them. Fry the remaining onion in the olive oil until golden, then add the lentils. Cover with water, and simmer very gently until the lentils are tender, adding a little more water as necessary.

Remove the bacon, and strain the stock. Allow the stock to cool slightly, and then put 1 pt / 570 ml in a blender with three-quarters of the lentils. Blend until smooth, and pour into a saucepan together with another 1 pt / 570 ml stock and the remaining lentils. Shred a little of the cooked bacon into the saucepan. Bring the soup to the boil, add salt if necessary, and pour into heated soup bowls.

Variation

For a creamy bacon and potato soup, substitute 1 lb / 455 g potatoes for the lentils. When the stock is almost ready, peel and dice them, and cook them gently in the olive oil with the remaining onion for 8–10 minutes. Pour on 2 pt / 1.15 l stock, and simmer for 30–45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then purée in a blender or food processor. Add ¼ pt / 140 ml single cream, reheat, season to taste, and serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley. I particularly like this soup with thick slices of hot buttered toast.

See also Linsenspeck.

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