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Lentil Soup with Ham has tender cooked lentils, vegetables, and salty chunks of ham that come together in a hearty, delicious soup!After the holidays, when ham is often on the menu, this Lentil Soup with Ham is a great recipe to cook with some of those leftovers. But – even if you didn’t serve ham – after the holidays is a great time to find ham on sale at the supermarket. Look for meaty ham bones that supermarket butchers often package up, or ask the butcher to put one aside for you. You can freeze it, then – when you are ready – make this Lentil Soup with Ham (with some additional ingredients of course) when the craving for a flavorful, filling soup is calling.
How do you make Lentil Soup with Ham?First, you’ll start off by making a stock – using that meaty ham bone, some additional pork ribs (so you can have lots of meat in your soup), plus carrots, leeks, celery, garlic, water and seasonings. Simmer that stock for about two hours – strain, then pick off the meat from the bones to use in the soup. Next, assemble your soup – starting by sautéing more diced carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Add diced potatoes, canned diced tomatoes, dry lentils, all of that wonderful ham stock you just cooked, and seasonings including cumin and coriander. Simmer until the lentils are cooked and tender. At this point, we use an immersion blender to puree about half of the soup – so that the Lentil Soup is creamy but there are still some pieces of lentils and vegetables intact. Finally, we add in the cooked meat we reserved after making the stock.
Can I make the stock ahead of time?Absolutely! We often make the stock ahead, then freeze it in zipper seal bags until we’re ready to make our lentil soup. One last note: Don’t be scared off by the number of ingredients listed in the recipe below. Many of the same ingredients are used more than once – first in the broth, and again in the soup itself – and we listed them separately just to make the recipe easier to follow. You may enjoy these other Lentil recipes:
- Tomato Lentil Soup with Sausage
- Lentils with Brown Rice and Feta
- Curried Rice Pilaf With Red Lentils
- Couscous with Lentils and Vegetables
½ pound carrots, cut into large pieces (about 2 carrots)
½ pound leeks, white only cleaned of sand and cut in half (about 2–3 leeks)
2 celery stalks cut into large pieces (1/4 pound)
1 whole garlic clove, smashed
1 meaty ham bone (about 2 pounds)
2 pounds meaty pork ribs (like country ribs)
½ bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 black peppercorns
4 quarts cold tap water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups carrots, diced small
2 cups onion, diced small
1 cup celery diced small
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
1 russet potato peeled and diced small (about ¾ pound)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound brown or green dry lentils, rinsed
10 cups of the stock from above
3 cups of the meat from above
Additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed, per taste
Place all of stock ingredients into a large soup pot, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for two hours. When it first comes to a boil, use a ladle and skim off and discard brown foam that forms at the top.
After two hours strain the stock. Skim off fat that floats to the top and discard. You should be left with 10 cups of stock. If you have less, make up the difference with beef, chicken or vegetable stock. If you have more, cook down to evaporate to 10 cups (2 quarts and 2 cups)
Remove carrots, mash and set aside.
Remove bones and pick the meat and set aside, you should have about three cups of meat. Discard bones and remaining solids.
In 6-quart pot, heat olive oil over medium and add raw diced carrots, onion, celery and garlic and saute three minutes.
Add potato, tomato, thyme, cumin, coriander, lentils and stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook 40-50 minutes until lentils are tender.
Remove from heat and add in the mashed carrots, then with an immersion blender, puree about half and leave half. The mixture should be creamy but still have solids.
Add the reserved meat, taste and adjust seasoning and serve. I added a little more salt and pepper but not much since the ham bone was salty.
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