Nourishing Lentil, Ham and Potato Soup

Last week it was our turn to host Crappy Dinner Party, so we pulled out a bone-in ham from our deep freezer to smoke in my husband’s smoker. We were worried the ham might be dry but it was ridiculously good. Since we had some leftovers, we put the bone and the leftovers back in the freezer for another time.

Fast forward one week, and I was craving soup. I checked out my pantry and saw that I had green lentils, potatoes, and onions. In my fridge I had carrots and celery and Better Than Bouillon. I knew I had what I needed to make something really yummy. After reading several recipes and adjusting for what I had, here is the recipe that I created.

NOURISHING LENTIL SOUP

SERVES 12

INGREDIENTS:

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2-3/4 medium onion, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 celery ribs, chopped

2 cup green lentils, rinsed and picked over

12 cups stock (meat or vegetable) homemade, or store-bought. I like Better Than Bouillon

1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups cubed ham

1 ham bone, if you have it

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a dutch oven or soup pot, place the soup bone, if you are using, and 12 cups of water (if using Better Than Bouillon) or stock and heat until boiling. Lower heat to simmer for at least an hour (I left mine on for several hours). Using a slotted spoon, remove the soup bone. If you are not using a soup bone, skip ahead to sautéing your vegetables. Add a few tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon if you aren’t using stock. In a separate pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes minutes. To the pot of stock, stir in lentils and softened vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer at least 10 minutes.

Finally, stir in potatoes and ham and simmer covered until potatoes are softened, at least 10 minutes. This soup can stay on simmer for a long time before serving.

ENJOY!

Ham and Lentil Soup

 

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Hearty Lentil Soup

Your Immune System — Carrot Ginger Turmeric Soup

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Hearty Lentil Soup

lentil soup

As soon as the weather turns cooler here in the north, I start to crave hearty soups.  I love them when they are full of vegetables because it means I don’t have to serve anything on the side except some crusty bread.  I have a favorite soup that I make all winter and fall that also happens to be a favorite of my family.  Whenever I tell my 11 year old that it’s what we are having for dinner, she gets really excited.

I was late to the lentil game, and now I can’t imagine what I did before them.  Lentils are so full of protein and fiber and really make a soup an entire meal in a bowl.  They felt intimidating to me for some reason.  Now that I know I just have to rinse them and pick out any super weird looking ones, I’m good to go.

This recipe is inspired by a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.  Over the years I’ve made quite a few changes to it and I really do love my updated version. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons olive oil (or just do what I do which is to pour some in a pot till it looks like enough)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 carrots, washed & chopped (I seriously don’t even peel them, just scrub)
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 large potato or 2 small potatoes, cubed (again, don’t peel them)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups vegetable broth (I love Better Than Bouillon)
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
Fresh spinach

METHOD:
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. I love to use my prized Le Creuset Dutch oven that I received one year for Christmas.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and stir. Then, add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender (about 5-8 minutes), stirring occasionally. Do not let vegetables burn. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the potatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Now, add the broth and stir. Nestle the thyme sprigs in the mix and then bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.

Taste the soup and add any additionally salt and pepper (or more bouillon if using) it needs.

Remove the thyme sprigs. Ladle the soup into bowls. Add a large handful of fresh spinach into the bowl and mix to wilt.  Serve with crusty warm bread.  We are partial to sourdough rolls or garlic bread.