This is a variation of pea and ham soup – not much of a variation because ham hocks are used in each. Rather than using split peas, this recipe uses brown and red lentils.
A real winter favourite, it is basically a lentil soup with the bacon adding to the flavour.
1 smoked ham hock
2 litres water
2 bay leaves
1 brown onion
3 sticks celery
2 cloves garlic
1.5 cups brown lentils
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
parsley or coriander for garnish
Cover the ham hock with water in a large pot – this is usually about two litres but more is OK. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours. Remove from heat. Put in the refrigerator overnight and skim fat from the top in the morning.
Soak brown lentils overnight. You can soak in boiling water for a couple of hours on the day you make the soup if you prefer.
In a second pot, saute chopped onions, crushed garlic, celery and carrot. Add stock made the previous day. Add drained brown lentils and red lentils (these don’t need to be soaked) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook for a couple of hours.
Before serving, remove the ham from the hock. Break up into small pieces and add to the soup. Garnish with chopped parsley. For something a bit unusual but great, sprinkle with chopped coriander.
If the soup is too thick, you can add more water. If too runny, add a half cup of more red lentils. These don’t take long to mush up and don’t need to be soaked beforehand.