Prep time: 10 minutes (+ soaking over night) | Cook time: 1hour 15 minutes
This simple but classic french dish was a staple in my household growing up and is now enjoyed by my own family on those chilly winter nights. As well as being a perfect winter comfort food, this soup is incredibly nutritious, as it combines the goodness of lentils with slow cooked veggies and healthy fats.
Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition and are great for digestive health. They are a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates, fibre and prebiotics. They are also high in iron, magnesium, potassium and other nutrients. Be sure to soak your lentils, preferably overnight to remove anti-nutrients that can inhibit the absorption of their nutrients.
Whilst the ham in this recipe provides a richer flavour, it is not always possible to source good quality ham; so I occasionally make this recipe without the meat and it is also delicious and satisfying.
1.5 cups of lentils (soaked overnight, then rinsed)
2tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs grass fed butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 small leek , finely chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1 medium smoked ham hock (free range, preferably organic)
1 L of vegetable or chicken stock
1 L of purified water
1 bay leaf
salt to taste (I don’t usually add any as the vegetable stock usually provide enough salt)
2 packed cups kale, chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
In a large heavy based pan, gently heat the olive oil and butter over a low to medium heat
Add the onions, sauté until softened
Add the garlic, leek, carrot and celery. Gently cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the bay leaf, lentils and ham hock, then cover with liquid. First the stock and then filtered water as needed (the ham should be fully immersed).
Bring to the boil, place the lid and turn down to low. Allow to cook for at least one hour.
Remove ham from the pan. Shred the ham, discarding the bone, skin and excess fat. Return the meat to the soup.
When you are ready to serve, remove from the heat and stir through the chopped kale and parsley.