You will need about 110 g (3¾ oz) trimmed, shredded spinach for this recipe.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
200 g (7 oz) pancetta, cut into thick strips
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 lemon thyme sprigs
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) potatoes, peeled, chopped
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) tinned brown lentils, rinsed, drained
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) good-quality chicken stock
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water
1 bunch (about 310 g/11 oz) English spinach
80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 fresh long red chilli, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. To make the chilli oil, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and pancetta and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.
3. Add the potato, lentils, stock and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the potato is very tender. Meanwhile, trim and shred the English spinach. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the spinach and lemon juice. Serve immediately, drizzled with the chilli oil.