Lentil Soup

I love rainy days. You know, the kind that makes you want to stay in your pajamas all day, drink hot tea and make a big pot of soup. In Seattle they might be a dime a dozen, but here in San Diego they’re cherished like a double rainbow. At least, by me.

Yesterday morning as the rain pounded down, I reached for the lentils in my pantry and all the vegetables in the back of my refrigerator that have yet to find a purpose. Carrots, potatoes and celery made their way back into the light—and into my Dutch oven, along with a large onion, chopped. I had been craving soup, so I had a hock of uncured ham in the fridge waiting to flavor a pot of lentils, split peas or whatever the legume du jour may be. Usually, I don’t use ham for my soups, since plain broth is healthier. But I sometimes find it difficult to achieve the same depth of flavor without the smoked ham hock. But it’s a delicate balance, because ham can so easily make a soup too salty, which is why I never salt a soup if I’m going to use ham.

For my lentil soup, I sautéed 2 cups of chopped onion, 1 cup of chopped carrots and 1 cup of diced celery in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Then, I added 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, two bay leaves and some sprigs of thyme. After stirring for a minute, I added 10 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (if you’re using the ham, you could just use water) and 1 ham hock. I let it simmer for about 1 hour until the ham was tender. I then added 2 cups lentils and 2 chopped tomatoes (trying to use up some of those tomatoes from my CSA). After 10 minutes, I added two chopped Idaho gold potatoes and let it simmer for another 20 minutes. Lastly, I removed the ham hock, cut it into bite-sized pieces and returned them to the soup. I seasoned with some coarsely ground black pepper and and chopped parsley. It was perfect for a chilly day. And for leftovers in S’s lunchbox.

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One Comment to “Lentil Soup”

  1. I’ll have you know there are only 2 rainy days in the Seattle 5 day forecast at this time. Thats it! Just two!

    You slipped in S’s name btw. Hee.

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