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Bacon, Ham, and Lentil Soup

Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)
With a little bacon and some leftover ham, that bag of lentils in your pantry turns into a hearty, satisfying soup. Leftovers are great, as most legume soups benefit from being made a day ahead so their flavors meld. Substitute green split peas for the lentils, if you prefer; they take less time to cook, so monitor the soup accordingly.

Ingredients

  • 5 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed ham (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped leek
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
  • 1 pound dried lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Nutrition Information

  • calories 359
  • caloriesfromfat 28 %
  • fat 11 g
  • satfat 4 g
  • monofat 4.8 g
  • polyfat 1.4 g
  • protein 25.2 g
  • carbohydrate 40.6 g
  • fiber 18.9 g
  • cholesterol 21 mg
  • iron 6.1 mg
  • sodium 956 mg
  • calcium 72 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add ham to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onion and the next 4 ingredients (onion through carrot); cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth and next 6 ingredients (broth through bay leaves). Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Discard bay leaves; sprinkle with bacon and chives just before serving.