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Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

This lentil soup was sooooo damn good, I wanted to share the recipe with you.  That said, I think it was my magical homemade chicken stock that made it so over the top, which may be difficult for you to re-create exactly. 

2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 medium celery, ribs, cut into large chunks
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cups dry lentils, picked over (I used red lentils)
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
8 cups chicken broth (I used homemade chicken stock, which is part of the reason why this was so very tasty)
4 oz extra thick-cut bacon

Place ingredients in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker in the following order: carrots, celery, onion, garlic, lentils, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper and broth. Cover slow cooker; cook on low setting for 6 hours. Before adding bacon, cook it for approximately 3 minutes in a saute pan, so that it browns lightly and some of the fat is rendered.  Uncover the slow cooker, stir in bacon and heat for 30 minutes more; remove bay leaves. Puree lightly with a stick blender, leaving some chunky consistency. 

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