Lentil and ham hock soup

Lentil soup

PT40M

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This was a fairly omnipresent soup throughout my childhood but for some reason it was never my favourite, I always preferred the starchy goodness of barley in Scotch Broth to the humble red lentil. However as is so often the case the flavours of our childhood bring more comfort the older we get. Shamelessly this is pretty much my Mum’s recipe from those days as, to be honest, I’ve never been able to better it. It can be made with stock cubes, but is far better when you’ve made the stock yourself by boiling a ham hough (hock) or ribs for a couple of hours. The twin benefit of releasing a natural smoky, salty flavour whilst also yielding the meat to supplement the pulses.

1
Place the ham in a large saucepan, cover with approximately 2.5 pints cold water and cover. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours until tender. Remove the meat and bones, reserving the meat
2
Add the lentils and vegetables and bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 20–25 minutes until the lentils are tender
3
Add the strewn meat back in, correct the seasoning if required and serve with a good grinding of black pepper
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