I made this last Sunday and have done very little else since. I guess I've been busy but it doesn't really feel like it.
Minced about 8 slices of thick-cut bacon and cooked over medium heat until crispy. Set aside bacon pieces and drained off most of the fat (reserved it in case pan got too dry). Sauteed 1/2 minced onion in remaining fat over low heat until very soft but not browned. Added 2 chopped celery stalks and 1 diced carrot and continued to sauté until all was soft, about 5 minutes. Added 3 minced garlic cloves, a pinch red pepper and 2 cups green lentils. Added a little of the reserved bacon fat and mixed everything up together. Added 2 bay leaves, then about half of a 32 ounce can of peeled, whole, plum tomatoes and their liquid, mashing them up somewhat. Added about 3 cups of chicken stock, brought everything to a simmer then turned down the heat and covered, stirring occasionally but mostly reading catalogs and drinking Newcastle. After about 15 minutes, the lentils still weren't soft enough but most of the liquid had been absorbed, so I added about 1/2 cup of water and a little of my Newcastle. Stirred in the reserved bacon pieces. About 15 minutes after that, the lentils became soft and most of the liquid was absorbed. Turned off the heat and stirred in about 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar to finish.