Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
3 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon VallÈe des Baux-de-Provence Extra Virgin Olive Oil AOC
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounces diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken Stock
1 cup French lentils (lentilles du Puy)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or Serpolet (Wild Thyme from Provence)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Sel Gris
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
A few tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Fry the bacon in a large pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, onions, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and the garlic, stirring constantly, and cook 1 minute more. Add the diced tomatoes (with their juices), chicken stock, lentils, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
2. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Fish out the bay leaves and discard.
3. Transfer about 1 cup of the soup to a blender and purÈe until smooth, then return it to the pot. Stir, garnish with fresh chopped parsley, and serve.