I just about died of happiness when I was browsing the Kitchn and came upon a recipe that combined my two favorite go-to soup recipes: chicken soup and lentil soup. That, my friends, is what we call the best of both worlds.
I knew this one would be a winner even before I began to chop away at the minimal but impactful ingredients. How could it not? The earthiness of the oh so healthy lentils balances out the smoky flavor from the bacon fat and the richness of the dark thighs. A sprinkle of parmesan to round it all out while dunking a warm hunk of this homemade bread?
It just doesn’t get any better.
- 4 tablespoons bacon fat or butter or evoo or combo (I used 2 TBS evoo and a slice of bacon which I then removed)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 12 cups chicken stock or water
- 2 cups French lentils
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving
- 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 for 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, checking periodically to make sure the soup isn’t bubbling too much. 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. (You can blend all of it if you like a creamy lentil soup, or none of it if you want it completely brothy. I blended about half.) Stir the pureed soup back into the pot. Using two forks, shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Taste and correct the seasoning.
- Serve with cheese sprinkled over the top of the bowl.