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Lentil and Spinach Soup

For an almost instant soup, use canned lentils instead of dried. Add to the soup in the second step and cook for 5 minutes before adding the spinach. Canned lentils are available in well-stocked supermarkets.

Ingredients:

  • 3 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Sauté the bacon and vegetables
In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and the 1 tsp. salt and sauté until the garlic is soft, about 1 minute. Stir in the lentils.

Simmer the lentils
Add the broth, tomato paste and water, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the lentils are tender to the bite, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Soup, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2006).