One can never have too many versions of lentil soup. Here’s one that will brighten a chilly day. I started this in the stove to saute the onions, then transferred it to the slow cooker and let it cook for about 3 hours for both the rice and lentils to be fully cooked.
- 2 to 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 medium fennel, diced fine
- 1 large or 2 small onions, minced
- 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced fine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups green or brown lentils
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 4 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- lemon juice, optional
- finely minced preserved lemon peel, optional
- olive oil, to garnish
In a heavy saucepan on low heat slowly let the bacon render a little fat out. Do not fry the bacon. Add the fennel, onions, carrots, and garlic. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables and saute till onion is translucent. This may take about 20 minutes. Stir about every 4 or 5 minutes. If you want to cook these in a slow cooker, transfer them into it at this point. Add the lentils, rice, stock and water. Let simmer for about an hour and a half, or set the slow cooker to high and let cook for 4 to 6 hours. The preserved lemon peel can be added with the stock and water, reduce the salt if you use the preserved lemon peel. Just before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lemon to each serving and stir well. Drizzle each serving with a little olive oil. If the soup is too thick, you can thin by adding more stock or water.
Note: Any rice is good here, but I like to use the Arborio rice. It’s very starchy qualities thicken up the soup nicely.