Bacon, Ham, and Lentil Soup

I was surprised to find I hadn’t posted this before as I have made it many times.  It’s a wonderful, filling soup for cold winter days.  You can also make it with split peas if you’re not a lentil fan.Cooking Light (1-year auto-renewal)Ingredients 5 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips  1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed ham (about 8 ounces)  1 cup chopped onion  1 cup chopped fennel bulb 1 cup chopped celery  1/2 cup chopped leek 1/2 cup chopped carrot  3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth  2 cups water 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano  1 pound dried lentils 2 bay leaves 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives Directions1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan; set bacon aside. 2. Add ham to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onion and the next 4 ingredients (onion through carrot); cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Add broth and next 6 ingredients (broth through bay leaves). Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer

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