Serves 6 to 8
Look for the tiny Le Puy variety of lentils; they have a wonderful flavor. You can buy Le Puy lentils at specialty food stores, some supermarkets, and online.
- 4 to 6 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3⁄4 cup peeled chopped carrots
- 1⁄2 cup rice, preferably Arborio
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Splash of red or white wine (optional)
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, or more as needed
- 3⁄4 cup dried lentils (see Note), rinsed and picked through
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan or cheddar or crumbled feta cheese (optional), for serving
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat from the pot, add the olive oil, onion, and carrots and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring, until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the wine, if using, and stir until it's almost evaporated, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, lentils, and half of the bacon and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Let the lentil mixture simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and the rice are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Feel free to add more liquid if you like a thinner soup. Serve the soup in bowls with the rest of the bacon and a sprinkling of Parmesan, cheddar, or feta cheese on top, if desired.
From The Mom 100
(Workman) by Katie Workman.