The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge‘s Executive Chef Christopher Chafe and his culinary team served an incredible number of meals to three waves of guests at this year’s Christmas in November. As part of the 30th anniversary menu, chef Chafe shared a Bacon, Lentil and Tomato Bisque that warmed my soul, and my belly.
The tasty twist in this BLT soup is the popped lentils, which give the smoky bacon soup a wonderful crunch. * You’ll need to pop the lentils overnight before making this savoury soup, but it’s worth it!
What you’ll need…
20 strips thick cut bacon
1 thyme spring
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
½ tsp peppercorns
2 onion; chopped
1 fresh red peppers; chopped
1 celery stalk; chopped
4 cloves garlic; minced
4-500mL can of tomatoes
2 L (8 Cups) vegetable stock or water
½ bunch basil; thinly sliced
200 mL whipping cream
to taste kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and sour cream
One day prior to making the soup, Cook over low heat for 40 to 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain.
Set on an oiled baking sheet one layer thick, in a preheated oven at the lowest temperature setting (160 F) overnight.
The next day, heat a frying pan with ¼ cup of canola oil until oil is about to smoke.
Fry the dehydrated lentils in the shallow frying pan in the hot canola oil until crispy. Drain and reserve.
Lay out bacon on a sheet tray one slice at a time and ensure that they do not touch each other.
Bake in preheated oven, 14 minutes or until done, in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F. Drain fat and reserve aside to cool.
Chop bacon into coarse bacon bits.
Strain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juice.
Lightly coat the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the tomatoes at 450˚F for 30 minutes and set aside.
Make a spice bag (sachet). Use a piece of cheesecloth and place the thyme sprig, bay leaves, fennel seeds and peppercorns. You can tie the sachet with a piece of string to keep it together.
In a large pot, sauté the onion, garlic and celery in 2tbsp olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Add the roasted tomatoes and juice. Add your sachet, a pinch of salt and reduce for 10 min bringing remaining moisture from the tomatoes. Add the stock and simmer for another half hour.
Remove the sachet; add in half the basil and purée the soup in your blender until the smooth.
Using a fine sieve strain the soup back into your pot. Add the whipping cream and bring to a simmer. Set aside and keep warm.
To assemble, add half a teaspoon of crispy lentils and half a teaspoon of bacon bits to the bottom of the bowl, ladle in a serving of the soup, and spoon in a dollop of sour cream you may add some fresh ground pepper and basil as additional garnish. Enjoy!