4 smoked ham hocks
8 to 10 cups Chicken stock
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
Celery leaves, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can of petite cut tomatoes
Basil, Oregano, Parsley
Salt and pepper
- In a flat dish, sort lentils a handful at a time. Remove anything that is hard or a different color. After sorting lentils, place them in a bowl and add water. Rinse and repeat. Set the drain lentils on the side for later. (Option – I soaked my lentils for an hour in water, then drained them.)
- In a deep pot, add olive oil to cover the bottom, about 2 tablespoons. On a medium flame, add chopped onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Saute until tender. Add salt and pepper along with basil, oregano and parsley. Cook a few more minutes.
- Add ham hocks and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook 1 hour, until ham hocks become tender. Stir a few times.
- Add lentils and canned tomatoes, continue to cook for another hour. Serve immediately with bread on the side if desired. Serves – 8. Option – garnish with grated parmesan or romano cheese.
- ENJOY – Hearty and Healthy with Lentils a plenty.
|Lentil Soup was never a favorite of mine growing up. Unfortunately for me, my mom loved it and made it all the time. I have a vivid memory of me sitting with a bowl of lentil soup in front of me at the dinner table after everyone else had finished dinner and left the table. My unfinished bowl of soup remained in front of me for a very long time, before I was allowed to leave the table.
Years later, when I was teaching American cooking, the talk of lentil soup came up. One of the lady’s husband’s had requested her to learn how to make lentil soup for him. Mom gave me her recipe and I taught the cooking class how to make Lentil soup. Recently, I asked my husband if he liked Lentil Soup and he said he did. In honor of the New Year, I decided to make it for him. Searching high and low through all my recipes, my mother’s lentil soup recipe was nowhere to be found. I was saddened by the fact that I couldn’t just pick up the phone and call my mom for the recipe.
My memory is pretty good and I knew the main ingredients, lentils, ham hocks, chicken broth and some vegetables. For sure, I remembered sorting through the lentils first. When I first did this many years ago, I would find a few tiny pebbles mixed in with the lentils. Recently, sorting through the lentils I only came across a few, about 12, discolored lentils that I removed. It is written right on the back of the bag of lentils – “Sort and clean lentils.” With another statement boldly printed also – “Lentils are a natural agricultural product. Despite use of modern cleaning equipment, it is not always possible to remove all foreign material. Sort and rinse lentils before cooking.” Sorting the lentils for me seems very relaxing and in a way a little bit therapeutic.
After writing up a rough draft of a lentil recipe, I called my sister-in-law, Susan, who is a great cook, for her opinion and advice. She whole heartily agreed with me on my lentil soup recipe. With Susan’s approval I felt confident and ready to cook lentil soup.
Tom, my husband, enjoyed his 2016 New Year Lentil soup. Lentils for the New Year symbolize money, prosperity and good luck. All good things! Another good thing, I ate two small bowls of Lentil soup, and really enjoyed it.
I miss my mom every day. Not finding her recipe made me realize how much I want to talk to her and how frustrated I get because I can’t. Don’t take your mom for granted. Give her a call, listen closely to her voice and most of all get her recipes, write them down and keep them in safe. There is no sound more soothing and comforting as a mother’s voice.