Thursday, November 4, 2010

Grandma's leftover Ham and Bacon Lentil Soup



 Grandma's Ham and Bacon Lentil Soup

1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach (remove the stems if desired)
½  cup chopped celery
½  cup carrots, roughly diced
 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fennel chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
1 cup cooked ham, diced
6 or 7 strips of cooked bacon chopped into pieces
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Garlic salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
1 (16-ounce) package dried brown lentils (2 cups)
Grated Locatelli Romano cheese for garnish

Place spinach, parsley, ham, bacon, tomato paste and seasonings in a 3-quart saucepan or soup kettle. In a food processor pulse celery, carrots, garlic, onion till fine, add to pan. Add olive oil and cook for a few minutes to soften vegetables.

Add 2 to 4 cups of chicken broth and enough water to total 5 cups of liquid to the pot. Add the lentils.

Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes uncovered. Watch and add more liquid if the lentils seem dry or the soup is too thick; you may need another 1 to 2 cups.

Partly cover the pot and simmer another 20 to 25 minutes.

This can be very thick, almost a stew, or, with the addition of more broth or water, a thinner soup. Serve in bowls topped with grated cheese. Serve with warm Italian Crusty Bread...
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