We’re eating some home-made lentil and bacon soup out of the freezer tonight, so this won’t be the exact recipe I used, but just in the spirit of the thing. I love this soup as it’s really filling but feels fairly virtuous and green lentils keep their shape throughout cooking. You can use the ham in this soup, or save the meat for something else and just use the stock – either way you’ll have a fab tasting base. If you’re worried about how salty your ham will be, soak it in water overnight before cooking.
Ham and Lentil Soup
1 ham hock (or gammon hock/ham shank/gammon shank)
Herbs of your choice – I probably used peppercorns and parsley. Sage would be good
- Place your ham in a pan with the chopped veg and herbs. Add just enough water to cover it, bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer.
- Simmer until the ham is cooked. I’ve no idea how long mine was going for – I just checked it to see if I thought was ready and took it out once it was. Remove from the water and leave to cool enough to handle. Once cooled, remove the skin and place back in the stock pot, along with any bones running through the meat. Bring the stock back to a simmer and leave for a while, tasting it every now and again.
- Remove the veg from the stock and chop up small. Crush the garlic and chop any more vegetables you’d like in your soup, frying everything in a pan in some olive oil. Add the lentils and stir well.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato purée, and enough stock to cover the lentils over. Cook for 40 minutes – 1 hour, stirring every now and again and adding more stock if required.
- If desired, chop the ham and add towards the end of cooking.
- This soup needs a robust accompaniment, so serve up with granary bread.