Spiced lentil soup with crisp bacon

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 people

  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
  • 1 each carrot, celery stalk and onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp Indian-style curry powder, such as korma
  • 1 long red chilli, halved lengthways
  • 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
  • 500 gm small green lentils (see note)
  • 300 gm piece smoked bacon loin
  • 1 bouquet garni (see note)
  • To serve: crusty bread (optional)
  •  
  • Croûtons (optional)
  • ½ day-old baguette, thinly sliced
  • 50 ml olive oil
01   Preheat oven to 160C. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add vegetables and garlic and stir until tender but not coloured (8-10 minutes). Add paprika, curry powder and chilli, season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and stir until fragrant (1 minute). Add stock, lentils, bacon and bouquet garni and bring to the simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender (20-30 minutes). Discard bouquet garni, remove bacon and set aside. Season lentils to taste and keep warm. Makes 2.5 litres.
02   Meanwhile, for croûtons, divide bread between 2 oven trays, brush with oil, season to taste and bake until golden (8-10 minutes).
03   Slice bacon into lardons. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add lardons and stir until golden (3-5 minutes). Serve soup topped with lardons and croûtons, with crusty bread.
Note Bistro Gitan uses green lentils from Victoria's Mount Zero company. To make bouquet garni, tie 3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, 6 thyme sprigs and 3 fresh bay leaves together with kitchen string.

This recipe is from the July 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Recipe:

JACQUES REYMOND , STEVEN NELSON, BISTRO GITAN, VIC

Photography:

JOHN LAURIE

Styling:

LISA FEATHERBY

Drinking Suggestion:

2009 DOMAINE VRIGNAUD CHABLIS AC, BURGUNDY, FRANCE. , suggested by EDOUARD & NATHALIE REYMOND

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