One of the best uses for the left over xmas ham is to make a hearty lentil or bean soup. I froze the ham bone after xmas and with the cooler change in weather i thought i would make a ham and lentil soup. i have 2 other versions that are family staples in our house -ham hock and 3 bean soup and hearty split pea and ham soup. I will share the other two with you over the coming winter months. In this homey ham and lentil soup the addition of tasty condiments like garlic toast sour cream and crisp sunflower seeds lifts the dish to gourmet fare.
Spices used in this recipe
Thyme leaves is a perennial herb from the mint family originally native to the southern Europe and Mediterranean regions, and a great ingredient for daily cooking. Its dried leaves are gray-green leaves, and it has an herbaceous, minty, light-lemon aroma and mint and lemon flavour. It can be added to soups, stews, clam chowder, stuffing, gumbos, heartier sauces, sausages, roast chicken or pork, and many vegetable dishes, or fish. Its mint-like flavour that pairs well in most dishes. Its characteristic astringency counteracts rich and fatty foods.$3.45
Bay Leaves Dried Whole
Bay leaves are oval-shaped leaves from the Bay Laurel tree. They have a warm and pungent aroma with an aromatic and slightly bitter flavour. They are used in a wide variety of cuisines from around the world, from European to Indian and everything in between. They an essential herb in Bouquet garni along with thyme, marjoram and parsley. There are two culinary types of bay leaves; Turkish and Californian. The Turkish has a more subtle flavour than the Californian variety and is more commonly grown and used in Australia. Only one or two leaves are needed to enhance a whole roast, pot of soup or stew. Dried leaves are less bitter than fresh & have a sharp pungent aroma.$3.45
Mustard powder is made when the yellow seeds are finely milled, and are used more often than the whole seeds as it provides more flavour with less effort. Mustard powder has a mild and slight sweet flavour and pungent aroma. The powder can be mixed with water to form a mustard paste to flavour bbq meats. It releases an earthy aroma when cooked and a savoury and tangy taste. Yellow powder is commonly used in the Western cuisine. It is key ingredient in the Indian blend Panch Phora.
Rosemary is a large Mediterranean shrub with needle-like leave and with strong lemony pine aroma and pungent flavour. It is mostly used French, Spanish and Italian cuisines especially when cooking lamb and chicken. It is key ingredient in the French blend Herbs de Provence. It has many health benefits and also it has been used for medicinal purposes.$3.45
Pepper Black Ground
Black Pepper is picked from the flowering vine of the peppercorn plant and is the most pungent and flavoursome variety of Pepper. Black peppercorns are picked green and then dried to 12% moisture content.Its colour when ground is grey as the seed inside is white. It has a woody flavour with a spicy heat and it is used in all cultures and types of cuisine especially in Moroccan and Middle East cooking. Pepper is used in all cultures and all types of cuisine. Also, it is known for improving the digestion.
The Spice People carry these pepper products ; pepper black whole, pepper black ground, pepper black cracked, pepper white whole, pepper white ground, pepper green whole, pepper lemon, pepper mill mix.
Sea Salt Flakes White
Salt is not a spice specifically but one of the most common condiments required for seasoning and a key ingredient in any pantry. Sea Salt flakes are used to flavor various recipes both savory or sweet. Australian Sea salt is obtained using a more complex process than table salt, which includes evaporating seawater. Due to this process sea salt contains trace minerals and nutrients that table salt does not have. Our sea salt is specifically obtained from the Great Barrier Reef. Sea salt flakes have a soft and sheer texture. The flakes can easily dissolve over the food.$6.95
main image via thewoodenspoons.com
Heat oil(butter ) in a pan and add chopped onion, garlic, celery, carrots . Saut’e 5 mins
Add the ham hock, lentils, stock, water , thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and mustard powder. bring to the boil and simmer for 2-21/2 hours until the ham fall off the bone.
Lift out he ham hock and let cool slightly.
Remove the ham from the bone and tear into small chunks .discarding any excess large pieces of fat. Place the ham pieces back into the pot. Add the parsley
For a slightly thicker style soup . after you have removed the ham hock bone but before you put back in the ham chinks. whirl about half the mixture in a food processor or blender . put back in with the rest of the soup and ham pieces.
Serve with crusty warm bread and condiments such as toasted sunflower seeds and a sprinkling of fresh parsley