Lentil Soup With Ham * (Not IC Safe)

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This is a very healthy lentil soup that I plan on making again soon.  It can either be made with bacon or ham, either way you’ll love it!  I found I had to add additional water.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 strips bacon, chopped —-(Optional, but adds a lot of flavor!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used onion flakes)**
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved, lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch half moons (or whatever you like)
  • Add a few stalks chopped celery, if you like (It’s a great addition).
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (you can definitely use more here, you can substitute 1/4 cup tomato sauce just fine)**
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed**?
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3.5 to 4 cups high quality chicken broth (i.e. first ingredient should not be salt!)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 T. red-wine vinegar**
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper**

**Known IC irritants, tread carefully!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a Dutch oven or other 5 qt. pot with a tight-fitting lid, cook the bacon until brown and crisp, 8-10 minutes.  Pour off all but 1 T. of the fat. 
  2. Add the onion and carrots (and celery if you desire); cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  3. Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Add lentils, thyme, broth, and 3.5 to 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.
  5. Cover; cook until lentils are tender, 30-40 minutes.  If the soup becomes too thick during cooking, add up to 1 cup more water. 
  6. Stir in vinegar, 1.5 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Serve the soup immediately. 
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