Lentil Soup with Crisp Pancetta

by Michael on September 23, 2012 · 18 comments

It has officially arrived. The first day of fall ushered in with a brisk breeze, light rain and low temperatures. We’ve been anticipating the onset of autumn and all it has to offer for weeks now, gathering our wool sweaters, long pants and heavy socks for a day just like this. Prepared for hikes with my family and time spent inside with the windows pushed open to let the air carry inside. And although we are sure to have a few warm days left, we are embracing fall and looking ahead. And letting go.

These are the moments. The ones we look forward to during the spike of summer’s heat and embrace upon first glance of nature’s rebirth. Autumn has a way about her. She shows herself in all her glory. The magic is seen in the colours and fragrances when we walk through the paths cluttered with fallen, torn leaves. And she comforts us with memories of summer past and the warm solitude of home.


Autumn is busy for us. We tend to get out and enjoy nature before winter pushes through. Our schedule is filled with shoots and the last remaining weddings for the season, plus meetings and client appointments eager to book for next year. It seems our time is limited and the time available to us precious, so when we do have time to ourselves it is often spent inside with the fireplace and healthy comfort food. And lots of rustic, hearty soups.

Today when I mentioned to the Mrs. that it was officially the first day of fall she suggested it would be a great day spent indoors to combat that cold at our doorstep. I figured it would be the perfect time to put some soup on the stove, something we could enjoy for lunch and dinner. And it wasn’t long after the pot hit the stove that the aroma took took hold of the house. It was the first in a line of familiar scents for fall.

Today was day one. And just the beginning. But we’re ready and anticipating a wonderful season ahead. With some farms and pick-you-own apple and pear orchards open, horse rides  in the country and new produce at the market, we have so much to be thankful for and so much to embrace. Like a good book, warm cup of tea and endless possibilities ahead.

From my kitchen to yours,



Lentil Soup with Crisp Pancetta


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly  chopped
  • 2 heirloom carrots, roughly chopped (any carrots will do)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 litres chicken stock
  • 1/2 litre water
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, sliced
  • bouquet garni (3 parsley sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves tied together with kitchen string)
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  1. Rinse the lentils and enough water to cover them. Let them soak for about 4 hours.
  2. In a large pot heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrots and stir until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and paprika and season to taste. Let cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the chicken stock, water, lentils and the bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot and let the lentils cook for 45 minutes, or until tender. Adjust seasoning.
  4. Discard the bouquet garni. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add the pancetta, cooking until golden, roughly 3-4 minutes. 
  6. Ladle soup into bowls and top with pancetta. 
  7. Serves 6-8. 

Leave a Comment

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Toni | Boulder Locavore September 24, 2012 at 7:37 am

Mike I just love your work. You have such a knack for weaving a complete ‘scene’ between your writing and the photography. It’s enveloping. I absolutely love fall and have been waiting for it to completely settle in (it has been reluctantly flirting with us in Colorado). As we still endure days in the mid 80s I’m coming back here to read and re-read, gaze at the photos and the delicious soup, in the hopes it will soon be here too!


Michael September 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Wow, thanks Toni! Writing is just as important to me as the images and recipes here. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of fall-weather days to come and enjoy! THanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.


marla September 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

Oh how I crave for those low temperatures. It is soaring here in the 90′s. We took my son out to look for fall leaves (he is obsessed with the idea) not so many here ;(
This soup will be cooking on the stove as soon as the temp dips. Or more than likely much sooner! Beautiful!


Ashley September 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

The back-lit photos are great! Definitely looks like a great fall soup. The temps are finally dying down here [well, still in the 80's] and I’ve been dying to get back to soup making. Soon!


Denise September 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Lentil soup reminds me of my grandmother. She use to make it often during the cold months of the year. I adored walking into her house and smelling a pot bubbling away on the stove. It is definitely becoming lentil soup season here as well -


Angie@Angie's Recipes September 26, 2012 at 10:21 am

A hearty and warming stew! Can’t wait to try it!


Steph @ Lick My Spoon September 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Mike, you make fall sound positively cozy! Soup sounds great :)


Kasey September 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Fall is definitely a magical time, and a season I eagerly anticipate (despite how much I love summer). I look forward to warming up with many a soup like this. Beautiful, as always!


Kimberley September 27, 2012 at 1:57 am

Oh yes. A lentil soup like this is on my short list this autumn. So lovely.


Tiffany @ Thyme of taste October 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm

This looks amazing! I stumbled upon your blog from foodgawker today, and this evening I’m making my version of Lentil soup….love the Fall for all the soup and comfort foods that come our way! Your site looks amazing btw!
Cheers from the West coast!


Anna October 8, 2012 at 1:22 am

I like the autumn mood. The props are something I really desire :)


Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings October 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I think I’m the only person in our household who will eat lentils! I wish I can convince the husband and 3 kids to like them, but they are quite stubborn. But maybe – just maybe – they’ll try if I shower it with LOTS of crispy pancetta – that they love! Your soup looks delightful and your prose, engaging :)


Michael October 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm

thanks Jen! Pancetta usually helps, just remind them it’s like bacon. :)


samantha November 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm

This soup is simmering on the stove right now. It smells so good. I’d intended to have it for dinner, but neglected to read “soak for four hours”…No worries! I’ll have it during Sunday Night Football. And hopefully for lunch all this week.


Michael November 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Thanks Samantha! I hope you enjoy it!!


samantha November 4, 2013 at 7:22 am

I did enjoy. So did my mum and my husband. I’m afraid there won’t be much left for lunch this week!


keukenblad keramiek April 27, 2015 at 9:21 am

I have picked cheery a lot of useful clothes outdated of this amazing blog. I’d love to return greater than and over again. Thanks!


{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: