This soup is very comforting in the depths of winter.
2 small onions (or 1 large one), finely chopped
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
handful of button mushrooms, cut into quarters
pancetta – 1 cm thick disc, finely cubed
small bunch flat leaf (italian) parsley, chopped
1 1/4 cups green lentils
1 litre of chicken stock or water
1 bay leaf
Brown pancetta in a large pot with a little olive oil over moderate heat. Add onions, garlic and celery, cook until golden and translucent. Add mushrooms and parsley.
Pick lentils over for little stones and wash thoroughly. Stir them into the pot. Add stock and a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Skim off any froth that surfaces. Turn heat down and let simmer for about half an hour, partially covered.
Season the soup with salt, pepper and lemon juice, if desired.
Notes: This soup freezes well.
Source: Nigel Slater, Appetite