This week I’m sharing my recipe for a hearty lentil and ham hock soup. This soup is number three in my four week challenge to bring you a nourishing soup each week. This soup is a firm favourite in my house and the kids love taking the leftover soup for school lunch. It is best done in a slow cooker. You can literally throw the ingredients into the slow cooker at lunch time and it will be ready for dinner six hours later!
I add chopped onions, carrots and celery to the slow cooker with the puy lentils, a couple of bay leaves, teaspoon of fennel seeds, a smoked ham hock (with the skin removed) and water to cover all the ingredients. Turn the slow cooker on low and leave for 6 or 7 hours. I check on mine occasionally and give it a stir.
Just before we eat, I removed the ham hock and cut off the meat and return it back to the soup. I leave the seasoning for each individual as the ham hock is usually quite salty. Spoon soup into a bowl and add a big handful of chopped parsley. Sometimes I stir fry some leafy greens and add those as well to up the vegetable content of the meal.
Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, and are packed with fibre and have good amounts of vitamins and minerals like folate, manganese, iron and phosphorus.
3 medium carrots
2 sticks celery
2 cups puy lentils
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 smoked ham hock (free-range, organic if possible)
Water to cover
Fresh herbs and/or leafy greens to stir fry