Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hearty Lentil Soup with Bacon and Asiago Cheese



Lentil soup will never win any beauty contests but what it lacks in the 'food runway' department it makes up for the 'great taste' category. 

I recently found Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley.  I'm very excited about this cookbook and already have several recipes earmarked. Hamersley and his wife, Fiona, run a delightful-looking restaurant in Boston that features rustic, bistro dishes. The first recipe from the book that I wanted to try was his wife's lentil soup, which sounded delicious for a cool late-summer evening recently.

I've made lentil soup many times before but this recipe was different in that it used bacon and kale along with a healthy addition of Herbes de Provence. One of the things that also appealed to me was the melted Asiago cheese croutons for served with the soup .


If the leaves are starting to turn red and gold outside of your kitchen window and the temperatures are cooling, I recommend you try this hearty soup. Just don't expect it to blind you with with it's beauty! Your taste buds will thank you.


Hearty Lentil Soup with Asiago Cheese Croutons
Adapted from Fiona's Hearty Lentil Soup with Bacon and Asiago Cheese from Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley

Printable Recipe

8 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 cups kale, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces - tough stems removed
2 cups lentils, rinsed and inspected
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
4 cups chicken stock (homemade, if possible)
4-6 cups cold water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
French baquette bread, cut into slices for the number of people you are serving
Asiago cheese, grated (about 1 tablespoon per crouton)

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add the diced bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered, stirring occasionally, about 6-7 minutes. Add the diced onion, carrots, garlic and kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 7 minutes. Add the lentils, Herbes de Provence, cold water and chicken stock. Raise the heat and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 50 minutes. Add a little more water, if necessary. Add salt to taste and the red pepper flakes.

When you are ready to serve, heat the broiler and toast the baquette slices on each side. Top with the grated Asiago cheese and broil briefly until the cheese just melts. Place one crouton on top of each bowl of soup and serve with the rest of the baquette for dipping into the soup.

My Notes: I found the lentils required more than the stated 35-50 minutes of cooking time to become tender. I think a lid on the soup pot may have helped even though the recipe did not mention one. I used a more bacon than the original recipe called for and more carrots - just because I like them both!

36 comments:

  1. Susan, this looks wonderful! I have to go check this book out- my Nonna frequently used kale in her lentil soup and Asiago has always been a staple cheese in her kitchen- I'm betting this is fabulous!
    xoxo Pattie

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  2. This soup is comfort food at its best. This really does look wonderful. Thanks to you I now want some lentil soup! :)

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  3. Your soup looks delicious!!! I am seeing kale is so many recipes lately. I haven't eaten much of it..but I know it is very healthy for you!! Can't wait to try your soup this Fall! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. What pretty pics..And everything looks so French to moi:) I love lentils that are super cooked:)
    Ahhhsiago:)♥

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  5. Wonderful combination of flavors, Susan!

    And I don't think anyone could make lentil soup look more appealing than you have. Very nice!

    I always think of you every time I spot your signature red. xo

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  6. Lentils are so good for you. "Brain food" as Dr. Oz says. I love lentil soup and I will be trying your recipe soon.

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  7. This is a perfect soup for a crisp fall day! Delightful and very healthy.
    I am adding this wonderful soup to StoneGable's menu next week. I'll link back to this post.
    You take the most gorgeous pictures!
    Wonderful!
    Yvonne

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  8. what a perfect fall dish, can almost smell it. mmmmm cozy goodness

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  9. Oh, my, does this sound YUM!! I am a fan of lentil soup and will be trying this soon!!

    Blessings!
    Gail

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  10. Hi Susan! I've only tried lentils once and was not a happy camper... I want to change that, I think I'll give this a try this weekend-thanks!

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  11. Looks mighty pretty to me! Great looking bowl of delicious lentil soup! Love it!

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  12. Mike makes lentil soup for himself. I will have to show him your recipe, he doesn't use on.
    Your looks fabulous!

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  13. Your photos of this soup are beautiful. I love the asiago croutons too. Joni

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  14. I love lentil soups Susan. I like trying different versions of them as this recipe sounds good as instead of the usual sausage and escarole that I usually add the bacon and kale would give it a different flavor. The asiago croutons also sound like a nice addition.

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  15. I eat soup for lunch every day in the winter- this one looks hearty and fabulous!

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  16. For me, taste always trumps aesthetics. I find that the most delicious foods look just awful. And to be fair, your photos of this make it look seriously appetizing. The perfect comfort food.

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  17. The soup may not win a beauty contest, but the bowl it is in sure does...Where did you find it? I've never seen a bowl like that except in white. Your soup actually looks very delicious too.

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  18. Just the other day we had lentil soup. It is great and my son loves it. I find your twist very interesting and I am sure tasty as well. I always like to revamp good old recipes

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  19. Thank you, everyone! With the temperature dropping and the wind blowing, it's certainly soup season here!

    Lynn, I hope you give lentils another try. They are pretty bland on their own but the flavor of this soup really makes them shine!

    Bo, the lion head bowls were a gift from a friend and came from Marshalls (HomeGoods) a few years back. They had blue at one time also. They are made by BIA. Emile Henry also makes them but they are much more expensive.

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  20. Susan, your recipe is wonderful but I just love your pictures... the colors and patterns are just sublime!
    Today is crazy hot here out east... will save when fall is acting more fall-like!

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  21. I love soup! I eat it all year long not just in the fall and winter. I wish I had a bowl of your delicious soup right now!

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  22. Your soup looks delicious! I have never tried lentils in soups before. I guess there's always a first time!

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  23. I've been making lentil soup for years! It's one of the recipes that my 30 year old son remembers from his childhood. This recipe look delicious. Beautiful photos, as always!

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  24. Lentil soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. Your recipe sounds wonderful, I love the bacon and kale ingredients. I am pretending that fall will last all winter long . . . maybe if we serve delicious soups like this it will extend a wee bit. Your picture with the steam coming out of the bowl is fabulous!

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  25. I adore lentil soup! It's not as pretty as some, but it's so good for you and you're right tasty. Beautiful pix and a really fun food blog...crazy for cute Mr Mack! He's just adorable.

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  26. Sounds like a perfect fall recipe. Its a soup kind of day in our household. Probably will opt for the chicken noodle though :-)

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  27. wnt win a beauty contest! Ha! It is tasty though and looks lovely as presented in your beautiful china

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  28. And you have caught the soul of this hearty and delicious soup! Beautiful...simply beautiful!

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  29. The soup may not be pretty but your photos are beautiful!
    Many years ago BC (Before Children) I lived behind Gordon Hamersley's restaurant in Boston. The aroma was unbelievable! I was always hungry for his delicious food, but could rarely afford it.
    I'll definitely try this soup. Thanks for passing it along.

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  30. This looks absolutely incredible. I love the bubbly, crusty cheese. Perfect for fall!

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  31. Mmmm, this looks fantastic! I have really been getting into lentil soup lately, and this looks especially good with that cheesy crouton on top!

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  32. This sounds wonderful! Love all the ingredients! Bookmarked!

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  33. Oooh, nice pictures--I like how you used the leaves in your shot. The recipe sounds great too. =)

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  34. I have seen many types of lentil soups but never one with a big chunk of baguette covered in melted cheese! Love that concept! and wish it was cold an windy right now so I would have an excuse to make that soup!

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  35. Susan, sorry I missed this post! Boy does that soup sound wonderful :-)

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