Chunky Lentil & Bacon Soup

I posted Lentil & Bacon Soup about a year ago, and probably didn't make it again until a few weeks ago.  I made it for Alresford Country Market and promptly sold out.  I then made it for West Lea Farm shop and they too keep running out.  So now I seem to permanently have some on the go.  The kids, too, were introduced to it this week on balmy October half term day at Alice Holt Forest (soup flask + plastic mugs, butter bread 'croutons' + spoon = picnic lunch) and have now declared it their second favourite soup after Minestrone.  Here is my new improved recipe.

Makes 6-8 mugs of thick spoonable soup!
Prep 5 minutes
Cooking Time 25 minutes (I cooked this whilst the kids were eating breakfast on the day we went to the forest)

1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
1 clove of garlic
100g smoked bacon lardons or streaky bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
200g red lentils
1 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
1 litre (2 canfuls) just boiled water
2 chicken stock cubes
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil the kettle.  Chop the bacon into 1cm pieces and fry over a medium heat in the olive oil whilst you peel the onion, garlic, and carrot and finely dice along with the celery.  Add the vegetables when the bacon starts to brown, and fry for a couple more minutes with the lid on stirring from time to time.

Weigh out the red lentils and stir into the vegetables, then add the tomatoes, crumbled stock cubes and hot water.  Bring to the boil with the lid on then simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.

When served immediately this is quite a sloppy soup but it will thicken if not eaten straight away into a stew-like consistency, something which goes down well with my kids as they stand a better chance of getting it into their mouths and not down their fronts!

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