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But I’m telling you – it sure is super yummy!

2 weeks ago I was browsing through some cookbooks attempting to find a decent recipe that would take advantage of the ham hock that was hanging out in my fridge and nothing really seemed to hit a cord with me. So I combined a few of the best ideas from the recipes I came across.

I’m not kidding you, this has to be the most delicious ham and lentil soup ever. Fattie is begging me to make it again and even put it on the rotation once a month. I’m going to surprise him and have it cooking when he comes home tonight….It’s simple ingredients that work well together; perfect on a cold winter day like today. True comfort food.

Please try this recipe. It’s so worth it!

Ham & Lentil Soup

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced – about 2 cups
  • 2-3 medium carrots, pealed & diced -about 1 cup
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced – about 1 cup
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped – roughly 2 tablespoons
  • handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup apple cider (or white wine)
  • orange lentils – about 1 pound
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 generous quarts of homemade chicken stock (I really believe in homemade stock – if you can muster up the energy to make your own it makes a huge difference!)
  • 1-2 large or 3-4 small ham hocks with bones at room temperature – about 2 pounds total

Heat half of the olive oil in a large pan or dutch oven type pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the meat quickly on all sides. Remove the ham from pot and reserve. Turn the heat down to medium. If needed, add the remaining oil allowing the oil to heat up first and add the diced onions, carrots, and celery (this combination is also known as “mirepoix”). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes to sweat the vegetables, just until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add in the garlic, bay leaves and fresh thyme and saute for roughly another 1-2 minutes until you can smell the garlic give off it’s flavor. Deglaze the pan with the apple cider making sure to scraps all the brown bits (fond) off the bottom of the pan. Allow to heat through for 1-2 minutes. Add the ham hocks back into pot and pour in the chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the hocks are tender. Add the lentils and continue cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Scoop out the ham hocks and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the bones shredding into 2 inch pieces; add the shredded ham back into the soup. Taste the soup and season with salt & pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the parsley and remove the bay leaf. Serve the soup with grilled garlic french bread.

Although it looks somewhat involved, the prep and active cooking time should only take 20 minutes and then you can walk away for about 2 hours while this baby simmers and fills your kitchen with an amazing aroma. The measurements are a rough guide and don’t have to be exactly perfect; use your best judgement. Also, if the soup appears too thick add a bit more stock.

 

This hearty soup is superb the day after and can be saved for several days in the fridge. Add just a bit of stock or water to thin out the soup when re-heating.

Yum, yumo!

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