1 tsp. olive oil
1 thick slice bacon, (about 2oz) cut into ¼ inch strips
1 small onion (10oz), small dice
3 stalks celery, small dice
1 ea. carrot, small dice
3 cloves garlic
1 ea. sweet potato (1lb), small dice
1 (generous) tsp. curry powder (we prefer “Sun” brand)
To taste kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup red lentils (available in bulk at Whole Foods)
1 ea. bay leaf
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
2 cups cooked chicken, diced or “pulled”
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil and bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Add the onion, celery and carrot; sauté a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, sweet potato and curry powder. Sauté a few minutes longer to cook the garlic and toast the spice. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken broth to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and bay leaf; cover and simmer five minutes until lentils are tender.
Add thyme, chicken, and vinegar. Simmer a few minutes until the flavors meld; check seasoning.
Place a 1/3 cup or so of the spinach in the bottom of a serving bowl. Ladle the hot stew over and garnish with the reserved bacon and cilantro leaves.
Yield: 4-6 servings (about 2 quarts)