Soups always remind me of the elementary and junior high school evenings in Autumn and the early days of Winter. I could not stand eating Mom’s Classic Vegetable Soup and I knew it was on the stove the moment I gagged on the scent slowly making its way through the house. Over the years, I still really can’t stand that vegetable soup, and the smell continues to make my stomach churn. (I bet you thought I would say over the years I grew to enjoy it. Nope, still pretty stomach churning.)
Despite the fact that, outside of the soup, I absolutely love all the vegetables in it, I really just can’t enjoy the soup itself. Needless to say, Mom’s Veggie Soup won’t be the recipe I share with you today, but one other favorite has. This recipe features my mom’s favorite legume: lentils. You could call it a close counterpart to a split pea soup, with more of an earthy flavor seasoned perfectly by the ingredients within it.
Since the weather has been playing tricks with us on East coast the last couple days, the cold weather is finally beginning to settle in. What a perfect chance to share this soul warming soup that is hearty enough that you won’t need any sides or main courses to follow. This one is perfect with a little fresh baguette or sliced high-round loaf. You can always opt for croutons or a gluten free counterpart, or simply omit altogether depending on how you’re feeling this evening.
Mom’s French Ham & Lentil Soup
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
3 carrots, peeled & diced
2 large bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1.5 cups dried lentils, rinsed
1 Ham steak, cubed (bone reserved)
6 cups stock of choice (beef, chicken, or vegetable or use a combination of the three!)
Heat oil in a dutch oven or soup pot on medium high heat. Add onion and carrot, lightly sauteéing until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ham, stock, lentils, bay leaves, and rosemary (in that order) and allow stock to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until lentils are tender, uncovered. Add pepper to taste, if desired.
The soup should be salted from the ham and stock. If you choose to use a lower sodium stock, add salt to taste. Serve with bread of choice.
Finish meal with a soft brie or triple cream Fromage d’affinois.
Yield: 4-6 Servings