Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ham & Lentil Soup

At Easter time, I always, and I mean ALWAYS, make sure to get a bone-in ham for one reason.  So that, come Fall, I can make this soup.

Oh yeah, it's that good

Ham & Lentil Soup
Recipe from my mother-in-law

8 cups water
1/2 cup dry lentils
1 smoked ham shank or ham bone
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup barley
1 tsp dried thyme OR 1 tbsp fresh thyme
3 medium strips lemon peel
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped cooked ham (optional)

1.  Rinse lentils under running water; drain.  In a 5 quart Dutch oven, combine all ingredients except extra ham, if using.
Beans and barley

2.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer one hour or until lentils are tender, but not mushy, anf meat pulls easily from the bone.
Love when I can dump things into a pot and walk away

3.  Remove and discard bay leaves and lemon peel.  Remove ham shank; cool.  Remove meat from bone and chop into bite-sized pieces.  Add this and additional 2 cups cooked ham to the soup.  Cook until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.
Mmmmmmm comfort

This soup has a really cool way of being hearty but light all at once.  I love how it's filling with the grains and meat.  But the broth has this rich lightness thing to it...the lemon peel really brightens it up!  I love to make this soup earlier in the Fall when it's cooling off but you're still not quite happy yet to relinquish those warm summer days. 
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