This soup lets the earthy lentils take center stage, followed by wholesome vegetables and long simmering flavors. The chili powder and balsamic vinegar adds that hint of "something good"- that is hard to detect.
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 strip of bacon
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 leek, washed and diced small
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs of celery including leaves, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
A sprig of fresh thyme
11 cups boiled water
4 teaspoons beef or vegetable bouillon base
16 ounces dried lentils, cleaned
6 Romaine lettuce leaves, washed
1 tablespoons parsley, chopped
grated cheese (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, onions and salt and cook until the onions are golden.
2. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for one minute. Add the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic cooking for 5 more minutes.
3. Add the bay leaf, chili powder and black pepper.
4. Pour in the hot water and lentils, bring to a boil and cover- cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Uncover and continue to simmer for approximately 15 minutes. The lentils and vegetables should be tender. Add the parsley and Romaine lettuce and cook for 5 minutes or until desired.
6. Discard the bacon, thyme and bay leaf. Puree approximately 2 cups of the soup and return to pot (or use a hand held blender). Simmer for a few minutes more and serve hot .
Suggestion: For a spicier version add two tablespoons tomato paste at step 3 and more chili powder.
Serve with a lime wedge, sour cream and cilantro or grated cheese.