Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika and Pancetta

Serves 6

You can use regular paprika, but the smoked paprika is superb. The soup is plenty flavorful on its own, but a dollop of Greek yogurt or light sour cream and a little chopped fresh cilantro doesn’t hurt one bit.

3 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice
1 large onion, cut into medium dice
2 medium carrots, cut into medium dice
1 celery stalk, cut into medium dice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup white wine
2 quart chicken broth
1 pound lentils
Salt and ground black pepper

Cook pancetta in a large soup kettle over medium-high heat until fat renders and it starts to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, carrots and celery; sauté until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne; sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add wine, continue to cook another minute or so. Add broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes, adding water as necessary for a thick but not gloppy soup, Pour about half the soup in a blender; puree until smooth. Return soup to pot; simmer over low heat, stirring frequently and adjusting seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste, until heated though. Serve.

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  1. says

    I’m going to make this for lunch today. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m going to substitute bacon for the pancetta, though, because I have bacon and really, really don’t want to go to the store!

  2. Sylvia says

    One can always use a good lentil soup recipe and this one looks like a winner. I am with the previous person in that I am going to use bacon as I have that on hand.

  3. Shae says

    I’ve made this soup three times so far, with rave reviews from my husband (who normally doesn’t like soup) and everyone else who’s tried it. I use bacon (preferably thick-sliced applewood) instead of pancetta and regular paprika, although I want to try it with smoked sometime – I just haven’t gotten around to buying some. I also leave the onion and garlic out and use powdered instead because I don’t care for the texture.

  4. Winnie Dolderer says

    Love this recipe. I use Penzey’s smoked paprika and it is delicious. I use my imersion stick blender directly in the pot to blend it. Works easier for me than using a blender.

  5. Liz O. says

    I made this tonight for dinner…delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect. Regular bacon is always good but I recommend using pancetta if you can find it. It adds such a wonderful flavor. It makes a lot so I have a question. Can I freeze some for later? Thanks for a great recipe!

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