Lentil And Vegetable Soup With Pancetta
- 4 x carrots peeled
- 8 x celery stalks
- 3 x onions
- 2 1/2 c. lentils
- 3 1/2 quart water
- 2 x bay leaves
- 2 sprg rosemary sprigs plus
- 1 Tbsp. rosemary needles
- 1 Tbsp. salt plus Salt to taste Freshly-grnd pepper to taste
- 4 1/2 ounce pancetta - (abt 14 slices) (optional)
- 2 tsp extra-virgin extra virgin olive oil or possibly as needed
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 5 c. chicken or possibly vegetable stock or possibly low-sodium broth
- 3/4 c. tomato puree
- 3/4 c. diced jarred roasted red bell pepper
- Cut 2 of the carrots, 4 of the celery stalks and 1 of the onions in half. Place in a stock pot with the lentils, water, 1 bay leaf and the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till the lentils are almost tender but still hard in the center, about 20 min. Add in 1 Tbsp. salt and pepper to taste; simmer till the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 5 - 10 min longer. Drain, reserving the liquid. Let cold. Throw away the vegetable pcs and bay leaf.
- While the lentils cook, chop the remaining vegetables and optional pancetta into small dice; finely chop the rosemary needles.
- Fry the pancetta in a large heavy stock pot over medium-low heat till some fat is rendered. There should be sufficient fat to sweat the vegetables, but if there is not sufficient or possibly you aren't using pancetta, add in extra virgin olive oil. Add in the minced vegetables, rosemary and red pepper flakes and sweat for about 15 min. The vegetables should release their liquid but don't let them brown.
- Add in the lentil-cooking liquid, the remaining bay leaf, the stock and tomato puree to the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till the vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 min.
- Add in the diced peppers and the lentils to the soup and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- This recipe yields 12 servings.
- Comments: Pancetta is available in the deli section of supermarkets. Leave it out if you wish a vegetarian soup. Serve with toasted flat bread.
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