Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup is a hearty and delicious soup, featuring tender lentils, smoky bacon, and aromatic vegetables. It’s a perfect comfort food for cold days, or a satisfying meal for any occasion.
This recipe serves 4-6 people and can be prepared in approximately 45 minutes.
In this article, I will show you how to make Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup step by step, with tips and tricks along the way.
What is Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup?
Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup is a recipe from the popular British TV show and cookbook series, The Hairy Bikers. The Hairy Bikers are Dave Myers and Si King, two motorcycle enthusiasts who travel around the world and cook delicious dishes from different cuisines. They are known for their fun and friendly approach to cooking, and their passion for good food.
Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup is one of their classic recipes, inspired by the Scottish dish Cullen Skink, which is a thick soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes, and cream. The Hairy Bikers have adapted the recipe to use lentils and bacon instead, making it more affordable and nutritious, while still retaining the smoky and creamy flavor.
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Ingredients Needed to Make Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup
To make this soup, you will need the following ingredients:
- 200 g (7 oz) smoked bacon, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200 g (7 oz) red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 L (6 cups) chicken stock
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 150 ml (2/3 cup) double cream
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Instructions to Make Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup
To make Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup, follow these steps:
Step 1: Cook the bacon
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside, leaving some of the fat in the pot.
Step 2: Sauté the vegetables
- Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. You may need to add a splash of water if the pot gets too dry.
Step 3: Add the lentils and stock
- Add the lentils and stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the soup is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: Stir in the cream and bacon
- Stir in the cream and half of the bacon and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until heated through.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy
- Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining bacon and parsley. Enjoy with some crusty bread or crackers, if desired.
What Do I Serve With Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup?
Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup stand as a robust meal by itself, yet it welcomes a variety of side dishes that can complement its rich and hearty flavors.
Here are some suggestions to enhance your dining experience:
- Bread: The act of dipping a slice of bread into the soup’s creamy broth allows for a delightful taste experience. Opt for your preferred bread type, whether it be classic white, hearty whole wheat, artisan sourdough, or dense rye. Each variety brings its unique texture and flavor to the table, enriching the overall meal.
- Crackers: For those who enjoy a bit of crunch, offering crackers alongside the soup is a wise choice. From classic saltines to hearty wheat thins or rich cheese crackers, each type adds a contrasting texture and can be enhanced with a spread of butter or cheese for added depth.
- Salad: Introducing a simple green salad provides a fresh contrast to the soup’s depth, introducing lightness and a crisp texture. A mix of lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomato, and onion, dressed with olive oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper, complements the soup’s richness beautifully. Feel free to explore with your preferred salad dressings to tailor the flavor to your liking.
- Cheese: Incorporating cheese into the meal introduces a layer of creaminess and a hint of saltiness that pairs wonderfully with the soup. Sprinkling grated cheddar, parmesan, or gruyere over the soup, or creating a melty grilled cheese sandwich to serve alongside, elevates the dish to new heights of comfort food.
Expert Tips to Make Perfect Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup
Achieving the best possible version of this soup involves a few expert tips:
- Smoked Bacon: Opting for smoked bacon infuses the soup with a profound smoky and savory character. Alternatives like pancetta, ham, or sausage can also enrich the soup with their distinctive flavors.
- Lentil Preparation: Ensure the lentils are thoroughly rinsed and drained before adding them to the soup. This step is crucial for removing any impurities and preventing the lentils from turning mushy during cooking.
- Soup Consistency: Tailor the soup’s thickness to your preference by adjusting the amount of stock or cream. For a smoother texture, consider partially blending the soup with an immersion blender or food processor.
- Garnish: Adding a garnish of fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, or basil, introduces a burst of color and freshness. A touch of lemon juice or zest can also brighten the flavors with a hint of acidity.
Variations of Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup
How do I Store Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup Leftovers?
Proper storage of Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup leftovers ensures that you can enjoy this comforting meal again without compromising on taste or safety.
Here are the steps for effective storage:
- Cooling: Begin by allowing the soup to cool down to room temperature. It’s important to avoid placing hot soup directly in the refrigerator as it can raise the appliance’s internal temperature, potentially affecting other stored food items.
- Transferring: Once cooled, transfer the soup into an airtight container or a sealable ziplock bag. Choosing the right container size can help minimize the amount of air contact with the soup, preserving its quality.
- Refrigerating or Freezing: You can refrigerate the soup for up to 3 days, making it a great option for quick meals throughout the week. If you need to store it for a longer period, freezing is an excellent option, extending its life for up to 3 months. Ensure the soup is stored in a freezer-safe container or bag.
- Labeling: To keep your refrigerator or freezer organized and to avoid any guesswork later, label the container or bag with the soup’s name and the date of storage. This practice helps in tracking the freshness and ensures you consume the leftovers within a safe timeframe.
How do I Reheat Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup Leftovers?
When it comes to enjoying the leftovers, reheating the soup correctly is key to preserving its flavor and texture:
- Thawing: If the soup has been frozen, it’s best to thaw it gradually in the refrigerator overnight. For a quicker thaw, you can microwave the soup for a few minutes until it’s partially thawed, making sure to stir occasionally for even heating.
- Stovetop Reheating: Transfer the thawed soup into a pot and reheat it over medium-low heat. Stir the soup occasionally to ensure even heating. If you find the soup has thickened more than desired, you can thin it by adding a little water or stock until you reach your preferred consistency.
- Microwave Reheating: If you prefer using a microwave, place the soup in a microwave-safe bowl. Reheat it on high, stirring every few minutes to prevent hot spots and ensure the soup heats evenly. This method is particularly useful for quick servings or when reheating individual portions.
Nutrition value (per serving):
- Calories: 287 kcal
- Fat: 14.5 g
- Saturates: 7.5 g
- Carbs: 24.5 g
- Sugars: 8 g
- Fibre: 7 g
- Protein: 15 g
- Salt: 1.5 g
Can I make Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, you can easily adapt the recipe to make it vegetarian or vegan. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the bacon and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. To make it vegan, in addition to the above substitutions, replace the double cream with a plant-based alternative such as coconut milk, soy cream, or cashew cream for creaminess.
What type of lentils works best for this soup?
Red lentils are recommended for this recipe because they cook quickly and tend to break down during cooking, which helps thicken the soup naturally. However, you can use other types of lentils like green or brown lentils; just note that these varieties may require a longer cooking time to become tender.
Can I freeze Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup?
Yes, this soup freezes very well. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Be sure to leave some space for expansion. Label the container with the date, and you can freeze the soup for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
How can I thicken the soup if it’s too thin?
If the soup is thinner than you like, you have a few options to thicken it. One method is to simmer the soup for a longer period, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. Alternatively, you can mash or blend a portion of the soup to create a thicker base and then combine it back into the pot. Another option is to add more lentils, which will absorb the excess liquid as they cook.
What can I serve with Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup for a complete meal?
While the soup is hearty and satisfying on its own, you can pair it with a variety of sides for a more complete meal. A crusty bread or a toasted baguette works wonderfully for dipping. A simple green salad dressed with a vinaigrette offers a fresh contrast. For an added touch of luxury, serving the soup with a sprinkle of grated cheese on top, such as parmesan or cheddar, can enhance its flavors. You might also consider a side of roasted vegetables or a grilled cheese sandwich for added warmth and comfort.
Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup is a delicious and satisfying soup, that you can make easily and quickly, with simple ingredients. It’s a great way to enjoy the smoky and creamy flavor of Cullen Skink, with a twist of lentils and bacon. It’s a perfect comfort food for cold days, or a satisfying meal for any occasion.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Hairy Bikers Lentil and Bacon Soup step by step, with tips and tricks along the way. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. I would.
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