Bacon and Lentil Soup

The best part of cleaning out my refrigerator?  Finding a pound of bacon I didn’t know I had.  After pondering for a few minutes about what I was going to do with my unexpected find, I had an epiphany.

I’m going to make Bacon and Lentil Soup.

This soup was the greatest idea I’ve ever had.  Not only is it just really, really good, it’s really inexpensive to make and (minus the bacon and bacon fat) good for you!

Bacon and Lentil Soup

1/2 lb bacon (about 5-6 slices)
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1 cup lentils (I used regular brown, but I’m sure green or red would be great too)
8 cups chicken broth, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup green onions, chopped

Cut the bacon in strips.  In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy.  For best results, put the bacon in the cold pot and let them come up to temperature together.  Low and slow is the key to rendering bacon fat.

Transfer the crispy bacon bits to a paper towel to drain.  Drain excess fat from the pot, leaving about a tablespoon of fat in the pot.  Saute the onions and carrots over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add the lentils and 4 cups chicken broth.  Simmer for about 40-50 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Taste the lentils, that is the only way to tell if they are ready.  Add the remaining 4 cups of stock.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, this will vary depending on the bacon you use.  Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and the reserved bacon bits.  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until soup is warmed through.  Serve with chopped green onions as garnish.