Monday, April 9, 2007

Wherein the Author has an obsession with soup

It’s true. I love making soup, almost as much as I love eating it. Now that we may be coming to the end of the season for warming, hearty, filling soups, I’m trying to sneak in as many of these delicious one-pot meals as I can get away with. Fortunately for me, my husband also loves soup, as long as there’s “stuff” in it. He’ll put up with a puree as long as it’s very hearty and full of big flavours (like the autumn soup with squash, rutabaga and bacon from earlier this year). Operating on the theory that bacon makes everything better, I made up a recipe last week that is definitely going into the cold-weather repertoire. It also brings in two of my other current favourite ingredients: lentils and bitter winter greens, in this case kale. Without further ado, I give you my latest creation: bacon, lentil and kale soup. As is normal in our house, we ate it so quickly there was none left to photograph. Sorry.

Lentil, Bacon and Kale Soup (serves two generously)

3 slices smoked bacon, chopped
½ medium white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock plus 2 cups water, or 4 cups homemade chicken or veggie stock
¾ cup French brown lentils (Du Puy), rinsed and picked over for stones (seriously, I found one – at the bottom of my soup bowl. Eeeeek.)
3 cups kale, stemmed, washed and chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

In a large soup pot, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until it gives up some of its fat, about 7 minutes. Lower the heat and add the onion and garlic, and sauté until softened, about seven more minutes. Add the stock, water and lentils, a generous grind of black pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the kale and vinegar, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes or until lentils are at desired tenderness. Serve in huge bowls with fresh bread and butter alongside (we had flaxseed rolls, which were amazing with this).

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