Improvised Lentil Soup with Bacon & Juniper Berries

Several things conspired to make this lentil soup–an overabundance of bacon in the fridge, some leftover juniper berries and a yen for soup on the chilly evening. Lentils and pork are a classic combination, and after consulting Niki Segnit’s The Flavor Thesaurus, I found that juniper berries (which I don’t use often) also have an affinity with pork. Deglazing the pan with a splash of sherry deepens the flavor while the juniper berries lend a bright counterpoint.

lentil-soup-with-bacon-and-juniper-berries

4 ounces thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup sherry
2 cups lentils (brown or green)
4 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
20 juniper berries, crushed
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Finely chopped parsley, for garnish

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and has rendered its fat. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings behind. Drain bacon on a paper towel.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion, celery and carrot to pot; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add sherry, scrapping bottom to loosen any browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until sherry is nearly evaporated. Stir in lentils. Add stock, water, thyme and juniper berries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer 2 cups soup to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender to puree part of the soup in the pan). Return to pot. Serve garnished with bacon and parsley.

Serves 6

 

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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.


I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

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