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

 

You might also enjoy:

Hearty Lentil Soup

Your Immune System — Carrot Ginger Turmeric Soup

One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta

NEW RECIPE! Potato, Carrot and Leek Soup

carrots
Fresh in-season carrots are so sweet and delicious.
leeks
Don’t be afraid of leeks. They are awesome.

I picked up my CSA box yesterday that contained two fresh leeks and a bunch of carrots.  Because it’s late August, my immediate thought was “I’ve got to make some soup!”.  There was a time when I was petrified of leeks.  Like, I had absolutely no idea how to use them or prepare them.  I found myself intimidated.  But I decided several years ago to just get over myself and once I went leek, I never went back.  So, I got home from the farmer’s market, found a bag of potatoes in the pantry, and got to work. It was lunchtime and we were hungry so I didn’t stop to snap photos.  Trust me, though, this is a soup you’ll want to make over and over again.  Note: When leeks are unavailable, substitute any mild sweet onion such as Vidalia.

This soup is hearty without being overly heavy.  It smells fantastic while cooking. My husband, who was outside doing yard work, kept catching whiffs of it as he walked by the back door and couldn’t resist asking for a sample before it was done. You will find yourself making this a go-to soup all fall and winter long.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 Tablespooons butter (or olive oil if you want a vegan soup)
  • 2 large leeks, washed well and chopped, white and light green parts
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 cups vegetable broth (I prefer using Better Than Bouillon)
  • 6 large potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (I leave mine unpeeled, and you can use essentially any kind.  Russets might get mushy if you care about that kind of thing.)
  • 8 carrots, chopped (again, I wash mine well and leave unpeeled)
  • 1 squash, any size, quartered (you can omit this, but I happen to have a lot from the CSA box to use)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, depending on the salt content of your broth/bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • Pepper to desired taste (generally 1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
METHOD
  • Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  When the pot is nice and hot, cook leeks and celery until softened, about 5 minutes.  Make sure not to burn the vegetables.
  • Add the broth, potatoes, carrots, squash,  garlic, salt (if desired) and bay leaf
  • Bring the soup to a boil and cook until potatoes and carrots are fork-soft (about 20 minutes).  Remove bay leaf.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend soup in short bursts until you have a mixture of smooth and chunky soup.  If you prefer totally creamy soup, use the blender until everything is combined.  We prefer more of a “stew” consistency.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender, a counter top blender would also work.)
  • Return the soup to the burner and simmer on low another 20 minutes or so to let the flavors come together completely.

This soup makes fantastic leftovers.  The soup with thicken the longer it sits.  If you want a thinner soup, just add some water or other liquid when you reheat.