This is adapted slightly from a Cooks Illustrated recipe.
Fragrant Lentil Soup
Makes about 2 quarts, serving 4 to 6
3 slices bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large onion , chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium carrots , peeled and chopped medium (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces), drained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 cup lentils (7 ounces), rinsed and picked over
½ cup barley
½-3/4 teaspoon table salt
ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
- Fry bacon in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add onion carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in lentils, barley, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer.
- Add chicken broth and water; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.
- Partially puree with a hand blender, or puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot; stir in lemon juice and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining cilantro.