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.

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