Your family will love this classic, slow-simmered lentil soup. The soup includes carrots, celery, and onions, along with basic seasonings. A leftover meaty ham bone or ham hock flavors this tasty lentil soup. Cooked sliced smoked sausage or diced cooked bacon can be used to replace the ham. If you have vegetarians in the family, omit the ham and replace the water with low sodium vegetable broth.
Some herbs that go particularly well with lentils: mint, parsley, thyme, and sorrel. Compared to other dried legumes, lentils are easy to prepare — no presoaking is required — and they take much less time to cook.
The leftovers are even better the next day, so make a big double batch or make the soup a day in advance. Or freeze the lentil soup in meal-size or serving-size portions for another day.
• 1 meaty ham bone (or 1 large ham hock)
• 6 cups water (or all or part vegetable or chicken stock; low -sodium)
• 1 1/2 cups dried lentils (brown or green)
• 3 to 4 medium carrots)
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 2 teaspoons salt*
• Optional: 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 bay leaf
• Chopped parsley for garnish
1. In a stock pot combine the ham bone, water or stock, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, salt, sugar,
black pepper, and bay leaf. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer
for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender.
2. Take out ham bone or hock and remove meat.
3. Chop meat and return it to lentil soup.
4. Remove the bay leaf.
5. Ladle the lentil soup into bowls and top with fresh chopped parsley