grated parmesan or romano cheese, for serving(optional)
Heat the bacon fat, butter, or olive oil in the bottom of a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season the vegetables well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook until the tomato paste darkens and sticks a bit to the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes more.
Add the chicken broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and add the chicken. Cover and continue cooking for 1 hour, checking periodically to make sure the soup isn't bubbling too vigorously. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate to cool.
Using 2 forks, shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with cheese sprinkled over the top if desired.
1poundspicy Italian pork sausage, casings removed(can substitute sweet Italian sausage)
1cuporganic yellow onion, chopped
1/2cupOrganic celery, chopped
1/2 cuporganic carrots, chopped
4cupsorganic chicken broth or bone broth
115 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
2cupscooked sprouted organic garbanzo beans(or 1 15-oz. can drained)
1/2teaspooneach of sea salt and black pepper
4cupsorganic kale, chopped
Cook garlic in oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until garlic begins to brown; about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and discard garlic. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the garlic oil.
Increase heat to medium-high. Place saucepan back on heat. Add sausage to pan. Cook, stirring often until browned and crumbled; about 6 minutes.
Add onion, celery, and carrots to pan. Cook stirring occasionally until slightly tender; about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in kale. Cook until wilted; about 5 minutes. Drizzle each serving with reserved garlic oil. Serve with bread or crackers.