Soup of the Day: Curried Red Lentil with Bacon

It’s a blustery day with a fine sheen of ice over everything.  A good day for a warm, spicy, and hearty soup.

In a skillet, I rendered the fat from three strips of thick-cut bacon.  I removed the bacon, and then threw in about a cup of chopped carrots, a few crumbles of hot red peppers, and two large sliced elephant garlic cloves and cooked them all together in the bacon fat.

In a separate soup-pot, I heated two heaping cups of red lentils with water to cover, plus two bay leaves and a chicken bouillon cube.  Once they came to a boil, I turned them down to a simmer (red lentils cook fast, but they don’t stay red).

When the carrots were about half-cooked, I added three tablespoons curry powder (a Balti curry–heavy on the coriander, but not hot-spicy) and maybe a half cup of water, and stirred.  I sprinkled in a little white vinegar–maybe a tablespoon.  I let that bubble for a couple minutes and then scraped it all into the pot with the lentils (which were already soft).

Then, I added a little water to the skillet to clean it out, and dumped that in the soup pot as well (getting all that flavor in there).  I crumbled the reserved strips of bacon in as well, and then added a big yogurt container full of chopped tomatoes with their juice (I’d frozen these last fall).  You could use diced tomatoes from a can along with their juice.

Heated the soup through and made sure the carrots were tender (but not mushy).  Served!

The resulting soup has a real richness and depth of flavor from the curry spices and bacon.  It’s thick and hearty and a little spicy from the hot red peppers–good with a dollop of plain yogurt.

Local ingredients: carrots, red peppers, garlic, tomatoes.

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