There are few things more comforting than a nice hearty bowl of soup. And, it is when we are sick that we need the most comfort. I would know, because since Monday I've been battling the flu. Yes, that flu, the one that everyone is scared of, the one that I thought I wouldn't get. But honestly, it hasn't been too bad ( I must have a mild case of it).
Basically, since Monday I have been hibernating in my apartment, alternating my time between the bed and what I like to call "my sick chair", which is one of our kitchen chairs with a blanket on the seat and a pillow on its back for extra cushioning. My head has been aching too much to read or write so I've been filling up on Bravo's reality TV and sleep. To make matters worse, Gian Luca has been away at a conference in St. Louis, so its been me, myself, and I spending quality time with the remote. Oh yeah, and it snowed all day on Monday. Isn't this October?
Luckily, I didn't have to worry about cooking, since I made Chicken Soup last week and had a bountiful supply in the freezer. So my cooking these past three days has been as simple as hitting the defrost button on the microwave. But tonight, all that has changed.I was feeling a little better this afternoon and I finished the last of my chicken soup for lunch, so I decided to make a nice hearty lentil soup that would make the entire apartment smell delicious for when Gian Luca arrives home tonight.
I played with what I had in the fridge to make this chunky variation of an old favorite, and so this soup came out more like a combination of Minestrone and Lentil soup. And since I had some Canadian Bacon in the fridge I threw that in too. Why not, right?
The minute that I smelled the leeks and bacon simmering together I began feeling better. Now, I won't say that this soup will magically cure my flu, but it sure did provide some much needed comfort on this chilly afternoon.
Hearty Lentil Soup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 leeks ( white parts only, finely chopped)
3oz Canadian Bacon ( cubed)
2 celery stalks (finely chopped)
2 carrots (finely chopped)
1 medium potato (finely chopped)
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian Parsely (finely chopped)
1 (16 oz) bag of lentils
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken stock
3 qts water ( approx)
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium flame. Add the leeks and Canadian Bacon and simmer until the leeks are translucent (about 7 minutes) Add the celery, carrots and potato and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients, making sure that liquid is two inches above the vegetables. Simmer for one hour, or until all of the vegetables/lentils are tender and the liquid has reduced a bit. Stir occasionally.
Top with pecorino romano cheese and a drop of olive oil. Enjoy!
This will keep in the fridge for 3 days or can be frozen for up to 3 months.