Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ham and Lentil Soup

There is nothing more comforting than a big steaming hot bowl of homemade soup.  I am trying to think of a time when a bowl of soup is not appropriate and I just cannot........weddings, funerals, parties, lunch, dinner, snack - you name it, a bowl of soup is the answer.  Perhaps breakfast is the only meal it would not be suitable for, but then again.......!  This is one of my favourites.  The ham haugh provides just the right amount of saltiness and gives a slightly more exotic edge to a plain lentil soup.  You can blitz this (with or without the ham chunks) to a smooth consistency but I prefer it chunky and almost stew-like, with lots of crusty bread to dip in.

675g smoked ham haugh (this is what it is called in Scotland, I think it is a Ham Hock elsewhere!)
1.5 litres stock (any flavour will do)
2 carrots
1 onion
1 parsnip
125g red lentils

Put the ham haugh into a large saucepan and pour in the stock, you probably will not need it all at this point but keep the stock aside to top up later.

Chop all the vegetables and add them to the pan with the lentils.

Bring it to the boil and then let it simmer for 2 hours, adding more stock if required.

After two hours, remove from the heat and leave to cool with the ham haugh still in the pan.

Once it has cooled (although it does not need to be cold), remove the haugh and place it on a plate.

At this stage you can blend the soup if you like and add more liquid if required.  Also taste it to see if any further seasoning is needed ( I doubt it though as the ham haugh provides enough salt).

Tear the meat from the haugh in chunks as you wish and add them to to soup.

When ready to eat, heat and sprinkle some parsley over.

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