HEAT oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, bacon and garlic. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.
ADD chicken broth, lentils, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Let cool slightly.
SEASON to taste with salt and pepper, thinning with more broth, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped green onion.
For a smoother soup, place half of soup in food processor or blender after cooling slightly. Puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Continue as above.
Serving Size (1/4 of recipe), Calories 570 (Calories from Fat 160), Total Fat 18g (Saturated Fat 2.5g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 1850mg, Total Carbohydrate 72g (Dietary Fiber 27g, Sugars 10g), Protein 34g; Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 8%, Iron 60%.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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