Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lentil Soup

I am trying to spend the last weeks of my pregnancy stocking up on simple meals that will be easy to prepare when the baby has arrived. Last night I decided to whip up a pot of lentil soup. Half we ate for dinner last night, and the other half when into the freezer.

The surprise ingredient? Ham hocks. A cut of pork from around the ankle of a pig, I thought it was very Southern to find them in my local grocery store. Ham hocks are not often used as a main dish, and instead are more commonly used to season vegetable dishes. The addition gave the soup a nice salty, rich undertone without being over powering.

1 large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
3 carrots
1 bag brown lentils
1 large Russet potato
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf

Finely dice onion. Preheat a large pot. Add oil and sauté onion until translucent. Mince garlic and add to the pot. Finely chop celery and slice carrots into rounds. Add to pot and cook for a few minutes. Add lentils and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.

Cook lentils for 10, skimming off any foam that appears on the surface. Peel the potato and cut into a large dice. Add potatoes to the pot and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

When the lentils are tender and the potatoes are cooked through the soup can be served. If usually let my lentil soup simmer for another 20 minutes or so, allowing the lentils to break down further and the soup to thicken a bit more.

Serve hot with crust whole wheat bread.

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