Chicken Lentil Soup

To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute olive oil for the butter and omit the chicken. This recipe serves 8-10.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hours 20 minutes

4 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
1 large yellow or white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 cups vegetable stock
2 cups French lentils
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the bacon fat or butter in the bottom of a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season the vegetables well with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook until the tomato paste darkens and sticks a bit to the bottom of the pot, about 2 more minutes.

Add the chicken stock and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and add the chicken thighs. Cover and continue cooking for 1 hour. Remove the chicken thighs and put them on a plate to cool.

Working in batches, blend about half of the lentil soup until it’s thick and creamy. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot. Using two forks, shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.