Lentil Soup with Bacon

This soup is just what you need to warm up on a cold winter day.  If you prefer vegetarian, omit the bacon.  The red wine vinegar at the end gives a nice punch of flavor!  

Makes 4 servings

6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used turkey bacon)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4" half-moons
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (3 1/2 cups) or vegetable broth
1 cup water (if you want a thinner soup, use 2 cups of water)
1 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

In a Dutch oven or other 5-quart pot with lid, cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon of the fat (if you use turkey bacon like I did, you won't have much fat, so just add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to your cooking pot).

Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cooking about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.

Add lentils, thyme, broth, and water. Bring to a boil; lower heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.

Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.


Chef Geoff's Notes:  Recipe from and special thanks to:  NancyCreative