Serves 4, generously
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, cut into coins
1 1/4 c lentils, picked over and rinsed
32 oz broth
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of bacon cooked until crisp, crumbled
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat about one tbs of oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, then add garlic and saute for a couple minutes. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened slightly. Add lentils, bay leaf, thyme, and broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes or until lentils are soft. If the broth has cooked down more than you would like, add enough water to thin out the soup. Remove bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with the bacon and cheese.