Red Lentil and Ham Soup

It’s winter here in the Canadian Northwest, otherwise known as The Great White North for good reason. Warm comfort dishes are indeed a welcome feature during our long winters. 

Hot Soups warm the soul.

Today’s recipe is ‘Winter Lentil and Ham Soup – I hope you enjoy making this hearty soup along with me. 

Winter Red Lintel and Ham Soup 

WW Points per serving : 1 point per cup

Serves 6- 10 people ( depending how hungry your guests are – lol ) 

Tools and Equipment:  

  • One large Soup Pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle
  • Large Bowl
  • Hand-held blender or a stand-up blender. However a hand-held blender is so much more convenient and easier.
  • 1 wet cup ( you use it all the time – the glass cup measure. In ingredients below when I refer to “cup” use the wet-cup measurement please. There’s the also the dry cup which is used during baking. We’re not using this measurement in this recipe.) 

Note : I’m on WW ( Weightwatchers program ) so if you want exchange oil with Pam vegetable can-spray. I spray the bottom of the pot before adding my veggies. Otherwise, just follow the ingredients below ) 

Also, just so you know, in Canada we have no choice but to use litres instead of gallons. So for our America friends, 4 cups = 1 litre 

Ingredients: 

  • 5 tablespoons of Grapeseed or Canola oil 
  • 1 cup of carrots ( small cut – in Chef terms : brunoise) 
  • 1 cup of celery (small cut) 
  • 1 cup of sweet white onions ( small cut ) 
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar 
  • 3 cups of split red lentils. ( NOT WHOLE) 
  • 3 cups of Cooked Ham diced – big enough cuts to fit serving spoon ( preferably on-the-bone because we like to use the bones for the soup. However it’s not necessary) 
  • 3 litres of Chicken Stock 
  • 1 litre of water 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 3 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed fine thyme
  • Pepper to seasoning ( I prefer white pepper but not necessary) 

Method : 

  1. Place split red lentils in large bowl and cover with water. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes. ( You will NOT be using this water in the soup) 
  2. Meanwhile, place oil in pot or spray pot as instructed above.
  3. Place in 1 cup each of cut carrots, celery and onions. Also add the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Place on medium-high burner (middle setting) and stir. Stir and cook for 10 minutes. 
  4. Add one litre of chicken stock – stir mixing ingredients, bring back to a simmer. 
  5. Drain split red lentils and place into pot. Again, bring back to simmer.
  6. While you’re waiting to simmer, add all your spices ( curry, cumin, Bay Leaves, thyme) .
  7. Add the rest of the chicken stock (two more litres) plus 4 cups ( 1 litre) of fresh water. 
  8. Add the bones of the ham you cooked the night before. ( If you don’t have bone-in ham, forget this step. Just use boneless ham from the store. However, bone-in gives it so much more flavour. 
  9. Stir and bring back to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn down to low so it’s just simmering. 
  10. While you’re waiting for the broth to come to a boil, you can start cutting 3 cups of ham into dice portions ( small spoon portions). Once their cut leave to the side for now. Don’t put into the soup just yet.
  11. Don’t leave your soup keep stirring on a regular basis. If you leave it, everything will settle to the bottom and burn. So just be aware. 
  12. Let the Red Lentil Soup cook for 45 minutes- stirring it occasionally. 
  13. Now, take off stove. REMOVE THE BONES AND 3 BAY LEAVES . I like to place the whole pot in the sink, just because it won’t mess up your stove then. With your hand-blender, begin blending the soup until it’s a nice purée. 
  14. Once it’s a nice purée, place on the lowest setting of your burner. Now add your chopped ham pieces. Stir in. If you still have any ham on-the-bone, remove that as well and add to the soup. 
  15. NOW, depending how thick you like the soup, you may or may not add water or chicken stock to thin out if necessary. 
  16. Let cook another 5 minutes until the soup is nice and hot for serving. Of course, you must keep stirring it. Taste it. Does it need to be seasoned? If so, lightly season with very little salt. Be careful, the ham is salty enough. Season with white or black pepper too. OR, just let your guest decide if it needs more seasoning at the table. 

Voila ! Bon Appetite! Serve with a nice portion of crusty bread. I love French Bread myself. No bread ? Soda crackers will do the trick. 

Enjoy! 

Chef Bari 

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