January 9, 2009

This is gonna be one of those "Oh my damn" meals...

It started off with a half-pound of bacon. Yes. A half-pound of all-natural uncured bacon in all its fatty glory. I'd told a friend about the amount of bacon in the recipe I was considering for Friday night dinner, and she and I exchanged "yeah, right" looks. But when push came to shove and it was time to get dinner going, I could not resist roughly chopping half of the package and tossing it in the Dutch oven.

The soup was a big first-time for me: I'd never eaten, let alone cooked, lentils. This may come as a surprise, but I'm not an expert in legumes. I grew up eating pinto beans (my grandmother's) every Saturday, but have yet to make a successful pot. Lentils are quick-cooking and I figured I'd have good luck with them.

Armed with Mark Bittman's book and this recipe, I set out to make a bacon-lentil soup. I used up what I had in the fridge (Greenling was delivered today, and we have a fridge full of fresh local greens), which included half an onion, some organic carrots and celery, two shallots, and two cloves of garlic.

I chopped up the infamous half-pound of bacon, tossed in the pot, and then chopped the veggies. When the bacon was almost done, I threw in the vegetables and cooked them until tender. I drained a bit of the grease, but not too much (it's Friday night, after all) and then poured in about 2/3 cup lentils, a bay leaf, and 1/2 quart organic, free-range chicken stock.
I brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat and let it simmer, covered, for about forty minutes. The recipe I modeled mine after was very accurate, and the lentils were nice and tender. I added another 1/2 quart of stock and some black pepper, and let it simmer for another ten minutes.
And then I texted my friend and told her I had zero regrets about using all that bacon. If I could communicate a scent to you right now, you would understand. Delicious bacon, sizzling to crispy, fatty perfection, crackling on the stovetop... Need I say any more? Not to mention, I'd started a loaf of parmesan-peppercorn bread in the machine and ohmigosh it smelled gooooood.

Ryan ate two bowls of the soup and half of the bread. I would've eaten more except it was all gone by the time I was ready for round two.

"I don't mind getting fat off of your cooking, but if I get fat off of fast food, I'm gonna shoot myself." Pearls of wisdom from my beloved.