This is the best lentil soup I have ever had, hands down. No comparison. And who do I have to thank for this recipe? My mom! She developed this recipe about 10 years ago, and one or both of us has to make it at least once a year. Sometimes I make it twice if I'm craving it, which you will understand after having just one cup or bowl. The only change I have made to my mom's version is changing the dried spices to fresh herbs, if available. I almost always use fresh parsley (Italian flat leaf is my preference) because it's relatively inexpensive and can be used in other dishes easily. I have been using fresh thyme more and more in the past year or so, so if I have that on hand I definitely use it in the lentil soup. I would like to experiment more with fresh marjoram, which doesn't seem to be as common, but it would be interesting to try since the marjoram is what makes this soup so spectacular. When my mom was developing a few soup recipes, she took a tip from our neighborhood Greek restaurant that had awesome soups. She asked the owner what his secret was... and guess what it was? The marjoram! Yum.
6 slices of bacon, cut ½ inch wide (approx. ½ lb)
5 whole carrots or the equivalent amount of baby carrots, cut into small dice
2 stalks of celery cut into small dice
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, cut into small dice
1 bunch scallions, chopped
32 oz can of roma tomatoes
32 oz can of chicken broth
16 oz dried lentils
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Nature’s Seasons® Seasoning Blend made by Morton Salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 2 teaspoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon marjoram or 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1. Sauté bacon until crispy in large dutch oven or very deep pot.
2. Remove bacon and sauté carrots, celery, garlic, onion, and scallions for several minutes. Reserve cooked bacon and chop into small pieces.
3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately one hour or until lentils are cooked. Add more broth if needed.
4. Garnish soup with chopped bacon and serve.
Note: This serves approximate twelve large bowl portions or twenty-four cups.