1. Put the lentils into a fine strainer and wash well under cold running water.
2. Peel and chop the carrot and chop into ½” dice.
3. Peel and chop the onion into ½” dice.
4. Wash and chop the white of the leek into ½” dice.
5. Cut 4 rashers of pancetta into ½” strips.
6. Cut the remaining rashers into ¼” pieces.
7. Shallow fry in a frying pan until crispy (no oil).
8. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and put aside for the garnish.
9. Make your own croutons from white bread and put aside for the garnish.
10. Chop the parsley for garnish.
11. Weigh all ingredients.
12. Place the washed lentils into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
13. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
14. Turn down the heat and simmer gently, skimming if necessary.
15. Warm the oil in a large frying pan.
16. Add the onion, carrot, leek and remaining pancetta.
17. Sweat for 5 minutes without color.
18. Add to the simmering lentils and simmer for a further 45 minutes.
19. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and blend in a liquidizer until smooth.
20. Pass the soup through a fine strainer into a clean saucepan.
21. Reheat to nearly boiling and season to taste.
22. Ladle the red lentil soup into warm soup bowls.
23. Garnish each bowl with a few crispy pancetta, sprinkle over chopped parsley and serve with croutons.