Monday, December 13, 2010

Ham and Lentil Soup

I said on an earlier post that I had a great recipe for ham and lentil soup, and here it is!

This is a fairly inexpensive and healthy meal that is also an easy way to use up extra ham (or other meats or sausages that you may like) and vegetables. I love to make it on a cold winter day. It's another soup that freezees and reheats well, and can be made in a crock pot or on the stove.

I like to make this soup extra chunky. Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic are the vegetable base, but squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, or other root vegetables would be good, too. I just happen to really like using carrots, celery, and onions.

I start them in a big pot with some olive oil.

Once your vegetables are softened, you can add in the lentils. I like to use French lentils; they have a nice flavor, and are quite pretty.

You could certainly use any kind of lentil (or bean) you prefer. Brown lentils are probably easier to find and take less time to cook.

Here are red, green, and brown lentils together. I have the red lentils on hand to make a coconut and red lentil soup. As you can see, the brown lentils are the largest.

After I've stirred the lentils around a few times, it's time for the ham. I'm using a hickory-smoked ham shank today, but usually I use the bone from my Pineapple and Brown Sugar Ham.

Now that the ham is in, the broth can come and play. I used two cans of vegetable broth and a can of chicken broth, but use whatever you like and have on hand. I've seen ham stock available in stores on rare occasions.

Pour in a can of tomatoes. I used petite diced.

The soup seasonings today are thyme, basil, oregano, and bay.

Don't forget to salt and pepper--but taste before you salt. There's salt in both the broths and the ham, and you don't want to oversalt things.

Now let the soup cook for an hour, at a nice rolling simmer (medium heat). After the hour is over, I like to take out the ham bone.
Remove as much meat as you can from the bone. This was a couple cups' worth.

If there isn't enough ham on the bone, or you want a little variety in your bowl, add some smoked sausage. This is chorizo, but any smoked sausage will add a nice flavor to the soup.

Add the meats (and the ham bone) back into the pot.

Once your meat is cooked through, your soup is ready to serve! Enjoy it with a chunk of Honey-Pepper Cornbread or maybe a nice slice of Beer Bread.

Recipe: Ham and Lentil Soup

3 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
olive oil, for sauteeing

1 scant cup French green lentils

1 large smoked ham shank or bone from bone-in ham

~40 oz. (approx. 3 cans) vegetable or chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 small bay leaves, or one large
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
salt and pepper, to season

2 smoked sausages (optional)

Saute carrots, onions, and celery in a large soup pot with olive oil until softened.

Add lentils; stir to combine.

Add ham shank. Cover shank and vegetables with broth. Season with bay, oregano, thyme, basil, and salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for one hour.

Remove ham shank; carefully remove as much meat as you can (supplement with additional ham if there wasn't enough on the shank.)

Cut sausage into bite-sized pieces. Add ham shank, meat from ham, and sausage to the soup.

Once meat is heated through and lentils are fully cooked, soup is ready to serve.


  1. Ok, this was the easiest soup I have ever made! It took me about 20 minutes to get everything going, and I was chopping for most of that time. It tastes so good! I added two cans of tomatoes to mine and used all chicken broth (that's all I had on hand). I've never cooked with ham or lentils before. Your recipes are so easy and practical but still very, very tasty. Thanks for blogging!

  2. Just made this with the remains of a smoked leg of ham left over from Christmas and it was wonderful. Spot on for amounts and timings. Thanks lots!