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Smoked Ham and Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • One small ham hock (preferably smoked) or small ham bone
  • ½ cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Handful of small broccoli florets
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, taste
  • Additional stock or water, if needed
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, for garnishing soup (optional)

 

Method

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.

 

Add garlic, bay leaves, thyme and cook 2 minutes longer. Increase heat to high. Add the ham hock, stock, lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer soup, partially covered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until lentils are soft and ham hock is heated through and tender. Stir occasionally. Add broccoli florets. Cook until broccoli is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.

 

Remove the ham hock and take meat off bone and reserve. Serve meat with the soup or in the soup whichever you prefer or use for another meal. Discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.

 

If the soup is too thick, add some water or stock to loosen. Bring back to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lots of fresh chopped parsley.

 

If desired, garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

 

Yield: 6 servings.