3 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch half moons
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 and 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
In a Dutch oven (or other 5-quart pot with tight-fitting lid), cook the bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.
Add the onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the lentils, thyme, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until the lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick during cooking, add up to 1 cup more water.
Stir in the vinegar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve immediately. (and I, of course, can't have anything without cheese on it, so I grated a little Parmesan over the top.)