Root Vegetable Soup with Lentils and Gruyère
- SERVINGS: Makes 12 cups
- 1/2 cup green lentils
- 1/4 pound pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and finely diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 celery ribs, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 medium red potato, finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely diced peeled celery root
- 1/2 cup finely diced peeled butternut squash
- 1/2 finely diced peeled rutabaga
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1/4 pound Gruyère, thinly shaved
- In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 1 inch of water and add a large pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
- In a large saucepan, cook the pancetta over moderately low heat, stirring, until most of the fat has been rendered, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, onion, potato, celery root, squash, rutabaga and bay leaf and cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes, stirring to coat with fat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables soften, about 3 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
- Stir in the lentils, parsley and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with Gruyère shavings and serve piping hot.
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