Apr 10, 2012

Ham & red lentil soup

It's been so nice to have a long Easter weekend. After spending most of the weekend with family, conducting an easter egg hunt then eating what seemed like a tonne of chocolate eggs, it was also nice to get back home again.

I took myself for a walk and enjoyed the crisp morning air. Then Mr Shady Pine and I took time out and had brunch at a local cafe here. It was really peaceful enjoying the valley views and a beautifully cooked breakfast. Sipping our coffee, there was nowhere to rush to. Bliss!

It was the sort of beautiful Autumn sunny day where you knew that as soon as the sun bid its good night, it was going to be a chilly evening. Chilly evenings got me thinking about soup. And the thought of soup saw me standing in front of the butcher shop. So it was this chain of thoughts that propelled me home with a smoked ham hock and inevitably had me cooking this soup.

Like all good soups, this one takes time. But it's lovely to have a big pot of soup bubbling away gently as you potter around the house. Do take the time to find a good quality ham hock for this soup as it will make all the difference. Once the soup is cooked, the meat should be falling off the bone. Only then can it be shredded and returned back to the lentil thickened broth to make this hearty and delicious soup.

Ham & red lentil soup

1 smoked ham hock
1 ½ cup red lentils
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 Tbs olive oil
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1.5L water
¼ cup chopped parsley

1. Place the ham hock in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil then turn off the heat immediately. Drain the hock and put aside.
2. Rinse the lentils well in a colander.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the vegetables and garlic and sauté for about 8 minutes.
4. Add the paprika, pepper to taste and chilli if using and cook out the spices for a couple of minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes, lentils and ham hock to the pot.
6. Add the water. Stir, cover and allow to simmer on low heat for about 1 ½ - 2 hours. Add salt to taste half way through cooking time.

7. Remove the ham hock. Shred the ham and discard the bone. Return the shredded ham back to the pot. Stir in the parsley and serve hot with crusty bread if desired.


erin @ yummy supper said...

Anna, Great minds think alike. I just made a pot of beans with ham hock this weekend. And lentils with ham hock is one of my favorite dishes!

Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said...

I need to eat more soup, I am on a soup recipe collecting rampage at the moment. This one is bookmarked and will be at the top of my list!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I'm so with you now with the soups! I made a soup tonight and enjoyed it. Your soup looks lovely and nourishing! :D

Hotly Spiced said...

What a robust soup Anna and I'm sure it's full of flavour. I have also been thinking about soups now that the weather has turned and there is that definite feel that winter is on the approach xx

tania@mykitchenstories said...

Oh my there is hardly anything better than ham and lentil soup....... great colours!

yummychunklet said...

The red lentils really make the dish stand out. Great idea!

Asmita said...

Looking at this soup my mouth is watering. I love lentils and lentil soup with ham sounds perfect!

Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen said...

This looks delicious! It has been pretty warm where I live for the past few weeks, but got super chilly tonight - so this soup looks so yummy and comforting!

lisa is cooking said...

Lentil soup is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. So great on chilly night--or any night!