Happy September, y'all! It's really starting to feel like fall up here with cool mornings, breezy evenings, back to school preparations, and the return of FOOTBALL, and I, for one, am loving it!
I've been craving soup lately (a symptom of the weather, I think), so I decided to make a smoky lentil soup that I found the other day while flipping through the Williams-Sonoma catalog (I LOVE clipping recipes from their catalogs). The recipe called for using two ingredients that I had never cooked with before, red lentils and smoked paprika, both of which I now love, especially the smoked paprika. It added a depth of flavor to the soup that made it seem as if I had been cooking the soup all day. I love ingredients that can do that!
You can find the original recipe here, but my slightly tweaked version is below:
Smoky Lentil Soup
3 thick-cut bacon slices
1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, diced
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4 in. dice
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 c. red lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream for garnish
Cook the bacon in a large pot until crisp. Remove the bacon. Drain on paper towels and crumble once cooled.
Add the onion, carrot, salt and pepper to the bacon grease, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and smoked paprika, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, lentils and chicken broth. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the lentils have softened, about 25-30 minutes.
To thicken the soup, add about 2 cups of soup to the blender. Cover with a towel and pulse a few times to puree the soup mixture slightly. Add the pureed mix back into the pot. Add the beef broth and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with sour cream and bacon. It's also great with grilled cheese on the side.