Another soup this week, but it is soup weather, and I suspect that you are craving soups as much as I am. This is a really simple and very hearty staple in my kitchen. Red lentil and bacon being the base, and I occasionally add other stuff to it, on this occasion, some spinach.
Lentils are very cheap, and really delicious. They get a bad rep. Some people ate too many while students (they are cheap!) but if you look to the cooking of France you see lentils everywhere. All types of lentils: puy, black, orange and yellow just some. For this soup I have used red lentils, as I love that they become mushy, and they also cook quickly so they make for a relatively quick and delicious soup. They are also available everywhere, some of the others can be more difficult to source.
I say bacon here, but I actually use guanciale, an Italian bacon of sorts made from the cured jowl of the pig. You can substitute pancetta, streaky bacon or any bacon you fancy. You just want that rich savoury flavour with the earthy lentils.
If you want to make a vegetarian version, simply exclude the bacon and add a couple of peeled, deseeded and diced tomatoes with the onion at the start.