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Hearty Lentil Soup

6 servings

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 slice bacon, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
7 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken stock
2 cups dried lentils (about 12-1/2 oz.)
2 large sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf

Combine onion, celery, carrot, bacon, and garlic in a heavy, large Dutch oven. Stir over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover and cook until veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Uncover and add 7 cups broth, lentils, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Transfer 1/2 of soup to a food processor, cool slightly. Puree until smooth. Return puree to Dutch oven. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to a simmer, thinning with more broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

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