Lentil and Tomato Soup
225g/8oz/1 cup dried green or brown lentils
10ml/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 rindless lean back bacon rashers, cut into small dice
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
400g/14 oz can chopped plum tomatoes
1.75 lts/3 pints/7½ cups vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh bay leaves and rosemarysprigs, to garnish
Place the lentils in a bowl and cover with cold water Leave to soak for 2 hours. Rinse and drain well.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the bacon and cook for about 3 mins, then stir in the chopped onion and cook for 5 mins, until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the celery, carrots, chopped rosemary, bay leaves and lentils.
Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, half cover the pan, and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the lentils are perfectly tender, stirring occasionally.
Remove and discard the bay leaves, add salt and pepper to taste and serve garnished with bay leaves and rosemary.