It's definitely coming into soup weather here in Brisbane with all the rain we've had lately and the cooler temperatures. I love soup but really only get to enjoy it in the cooler months. It's so quick to make, nutritious and filling.
I had lentils and vegetables and wanted to give it a little something 'extra'. I picked up some bacon bones from the supermarket yesterday and decided that would give it a lift and a rich smokiness wthout a lot of extra meat. Not that we're impartial to meat. There is a product on the market I've seen at speciality delicatessens called "liquid smoke". Something like this. It would be great to add to all sorts of dishes, sauces and marinades.
Smokin' Lentil Soup
3-4 bacon bones
1 cup red lentils
2 cups pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
enough chicken stock to cover (I used water and chicken stock powder)
1 tbs sweet paprika (you could use a smoked paprika)
1 pinch dried thyme
pepper (adjust salt to taste at end of cooking as the bacon bones can be quite salty)
Throw everything together in a pot. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and let simmer until carrots and lentils are soft (approx 45 mins). Remove bones. (There wasn't enough meat on the bones to warrant adding to the soup.) For a smooth soup, blend or puree until smooth (I used my stick blender straight in the pot) or leave as is for a chunky version. Serve with crusty bread. (You could also serve with some fried, chopped bacon as a garnish. I just ran out of time.)