When fall officially arrives I instinctively turn to family recipes for hearty, stick-to-the-ribs fare that my grandmother and mother used to prepare. I’m compelled to retrieve my stock pot from the back of the cupboard and search the freezer for the ham bone I stashed away last Easter. Although tomorrow’s forecast is 94 degrees (I know, I hate it) I’m thinking soup, and one of my favorites is my grandma’s recipe for lentil and ham. As with most soups, the secret is in the stock.
I simmered the meaty ham bone with onions, celery, carrots and 2 bay leaves for several hours, strained the broth and then began preparation of this simple and hearty soup. If you have any chunks of ham from the bone, remove them and slice into bite sized pieces. Add at the end of the simmering process.
Lentil and Ham Soup
- 8-10 cups good, rich soup stock or canned chicken broth.
- 1/2 pound (1-1/2 cups) lentils
- 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup chopped leeks
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 2 cups diced, roasted tomatoes with juice or 1 15-ounce can chopped, stewed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Wash and pick over the lentils. Place in large pot with the soup stock and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1-1/2 hours, or until lentils are soft.
Saute bacon pieces in a large saute pan. Add leeks, carrots and onion and saute till tender and add to the lentils. Add salt and pepper, thyme, mustard and vinegar. Simmer for about an hour. If you want a thicker soup turn up the heat and reduce to desired consistency. Add a can of chicken stock if the soup is a little thick. The pot can simmer on the back of the stove for several hours and the flavors just get better.
I served this with the Cheddar Zucchini scones I prepared in my last post. It was oh, so good.