It’s a rainy night here and a bowl of my French Lentil Soup with smoky bacon, Le Puy lentils, red wine, and escarole was just what I needed. Hit the save button to keep the full recipe below for a chilly day!
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 large leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup French green lentils (Le Puy)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 to 1 pound escarole, cleaned, trimmed, and torn into bite size pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1. In a large pot, cook bacon in olive oil until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add carrots, leeks, and celery to the pot with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
3. Deglaze the pan with red wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in lentils, followed by stock, water, thyme, bay leaf, reserved bacon, and an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Add escarole to the pot and stir it into the soup (it will look like a lot of escarole; it will wilt down.) 6. Bring the soup back to a boil, partially cover the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until lentils and escarole are soft.
7. Remove bay leaf. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, black pepper, and croutons, if desired.