Bacon, Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Veggie soup

When it’s cold and rainy, like it is here at the moment, soup is the perfect antidote for the weather. And the last thing you want to do when it’s raining is brave the outdoors, so I’ve come up with a delicious soup that’s hearty and full of goodness, with ingredients you should already have in your pantry. Score. You might see that this one has lentils, but don’t let their hippie connotations dissuade you. It’s time to embrace this luscious lentil, trust me! When they’re mixed with salty, delightful bacon and oodles of veggie goodness they come into their own and make this soup a real winner. I prefer to use dried lentils just because I think they taste a little nicer, but if you are short on time feel free to use tinned lentils, just add them in about 10 minutes before the soup is ready or they will overcook. If you like your soup smooth, feel free to puree it but it like it a bit chunkier like me, just leave it as is. You can make a big batch of this to see you through the week and I promise you’ll be glad you did 🙂

Bacon, Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
  • 100g cubed diced pancetta
  • 2 red onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced lengthways and chopped
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • a few sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 200 g dried red lentils
  • 1 organic vegetable stock cube, optional
  • 410 g tinned cannellini beans, drained
  • extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Place a large saucepan (with a lid) on a medium heat. Add a large splash of olive oil and the bacon and pancetta. Fry slowly until the meats have started to release they tasty fat and start to go a little crispy. Then add the dried oregano, chilli, bay leaf, celery seed, onion, carrot, leek, celery and garlic.
  2. Cook gently with the lid on for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft, then add the lentils and 1 litre water or vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are soft. (Check the packet instructions as different types of lentils vary in cooking time. If you’re mixing your lentils, cook for the longest amount of time to make sure they are all cooked properly).Add the tin of cannellini beans and, if the soup’s a little thick, some more water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes, then taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.Ladle into bowls and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the chopped parsley. Serve with some warm, crunchy bread rolls.