Saturday, February 2, 2013

Smoky Lentil Soup with Bacon

Comforting bowl of soup for a cold winter day.   When adding the paprika, use a good quality smoked paprika, not the regular paprika.  I never thought that there was much difference until I tried it.  There is a huge difference!   I like to serve this with a grilled provolone cheese sandwich made on crusty Italian bread.  But really, any sandwich would work well with this recipe.

4 slices Bacon
1 Onion, diced
3 Carrots, diced
2 Celery stalks, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
6 oz. Tomato Paste
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
14 oz. Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
1 C. Red Lentils
4 C. Chicken Broth
Sour Cream
Parsley, minced

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until cooked through and crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels, leaving the grease in the pot.  Crumble the bacon.  Add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and paprika.  Cook 2 – 3 minutes.  Add 1 Tbsp. of the tomato paste.  Cover and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are soft.  Add the broth, lentils, tomatoes and the remaining tomato paste.  Cover the cook until the lentils are tender, about 35 -45 minutes.  With an immersion blender, puree to desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls.  Top with sour cream, bacon and parsley.