Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spicy Lentil Soup with Ham

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Yesterday, while making up a batch of this Spicy Lentil Soup with Ham, I was reminded of three things:

1. Using a homemade stock and dry lentils is always better - both lend a richness and depth to the soup impossible to attain using boxed or canned varieties.

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2. Improvise - while prudent to take inventory and assemble ingredients prior to cooking a specific dish - when you hit a glitch (in this case no celery) make adjustments and move on... it's how so many great things are created in the kitchen!

3. Pork - it has the uncanny ability to enhance the flavor of anything it touches...(I was not really reminded of this...I knew it all along...just seems worth repeating :)

Spicy Lentil Soup with Ham

Ingredients:

2 Ham Steaks, diced (about 1/2 lb)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb dry, small green lentils, rinsed and picked over
8 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
1 scant tablespoon *Celery Salt
1 scant tablespoon *Moroccan Spice Blend (recipe follows)
Olive oil for sauteing...

Directions:

In a large stockpot with lid, over medium-high heat, add olive oil and ham and cook until ham begins to "sweat" and slightly render down (about 4 minutes). Add onion, carrot and garlic and continue cooking until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-8 minutes.

Add *celery salt (I opted to use celery salt because I was out of celery and knew my homemade chicken stock was NOT salty; therefor adding celery salt would not over salt the soup. If using boxed or canned broth, I would NOT use celery salt, rather 2 diced celery stalks, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed if (like me) you're out of celery or simply omit.)

Add Moroccan Spice blend (recipe follows) and lentils, stirring together until lentils are well coated with the spice.

Add homemade broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down heat to a simmer, cover the pot and continue cooking until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes to an hour.

(Note: I stopped short of naming this soup Moroccan Spiced Lentil Soup with Ham because - if what I read online is correct - the people of Morocco who are mostly Muslim do not eat pork.)

A little spicy...a whole lot delicious!!!!
Moroccan Spice Blend
Gourmet, April 2004

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix all together and store in an air tight container - great spice to have on hand for meats, seafood, soups and stews.

34 comments:

Marc van der Wouw said...

Great looking soup...very nice;-)

Courtney said...

To me, something has great flavor if it is spicy! And if it is spicy, it has great flavor!

So happy you added cayenne!

Simply Life said...

oh I'm sure these flavors go great together - looks delicious!

Amy said...

Yum...Your Spicy Lentil soup with ham looks delicious. I'm not a big fan of lentil but you made the soup looks divine. Love your photography on the blog. Your recipes are healthy and delicous looking! I love them all! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I'm the newest follower on you blog! ;)

Amy
http://utry.it

laurie said...

Wonderful soup! Looks so tasty!

Debbie B. said...

Love the first pic! Such a creative way to highlight the lentil soup. I've been on a lentils kick lately!

Gabrielle said...

I hope you feel better soon. Love this soup!

Priyanka said...

Wonderful and healthy soup :)

Farida said...

Love your recipe and great pics, that look so fresh soup. Yummi...

Farida
http://soupfresh.blogspot.com/

Katerina said...

I make lentils quite often but I never used ham. Great idea!

Edible Art said...

ooh ive made lentil soup for the first time, not too long ago!
its actually very filling and savory, ive grown to really like it, i would love to try out your recipes (:

Nuts about food said...

Pork and legumes is just a match made in heaven. And making things from scratch really makes all the difference, although I admit I often use ready cooked legumes.

Joanne said...

There are so many good lentil-soup-making tips in this post! Pork definitely makes everything better but so does a good Moroccan spice blend. And you have both here. Amazing.

Jenn said...

I'm not much of a fan of lentil soup, but you sure do make it look really good!!!
And yes, improvising is the key!! :)

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

That spice blend sounds really good!! I will be making that soon for sure! I need to try lentils again, you soup looks delicious I'd love a big old bowl of that for breakfast please :)

Mary said...

I really appreciate all the tips you've shared with us. This soup sounds so goodthat I really must give it a try. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

City said...

I definitely agree with all three tips - especially the one about the homemade stock. Looks great!

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Look at your pictures!!! My Lord - are you taking classes? This post is not only beautiful but motivating. Must make lentils now. Must must must!

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Magic of Spice said...

What a great spice blend and the soup looks fantastic! Love your #2 :)

chrysta said...

mmMMM...I love a great spicy lentil soup! Sounds delish!

Lea Ann said...

Really nice photos. This is one of my favorite soups.

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