Lentil Soup with Sweet Potato and Pancetta
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/4 wedge of large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 1/4 cup pancetta
- 1 medium large sweet potato, diced
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1/2 cup dried yellow lentils
- 4 cups of vegetable stock (2 extra cups of vegetable stock if you want to puree)
Heat olive oil in a deep skillet on medium heat. Add butter, let it melt into olive oil. Add onions and thyme, saute until a slight caramelization begins. Add pancetta and render fat. Stir onions and pancetta regularly to integrate flavor and keep from turning too brown. A little caramelization is great, but since it’s on medium heat, you don’t want it to burn – which is what will happen if you let it sit far too long. Add sweet potatoes and the sprig of rosemary. Saute for 1o minutes and then add dried yellow lentils. Let that toast for a few seconds, then add vegetable stock. It should sizzle immediately and you should be proud of yourself. Let the flavors of all the ingredients integrate in a nice bubbly stew for about 3 – 4 minutes, then turn heat to medium low and let cook for 40 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. Do not cover.
When lentils and sweet potatoes have softened to taste, your soup is ready. Remove the sprigs of thyme and rosemary and discard. If you want a smoother pureed soup, have 2 cups of vegetable stock warm and ready. Pour soup into a food processor and puree until smooth, adding the 2 extra cups of vegetable stock as needed. Now, pour the puree into a sieve to reduce chunks and create a nice glossy looking soup. Garnish with parsley or fried bits of pancetta. Serve with crusty baguette and whipped butter sprinkled with Maldon seat salt. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!