About this recipe:Everyone I've made this for loves it. Hearty winter soup made with fresh veg, lentils and ham shank (ham hock). The secret is using the water the ham was cooked in as stock for the soup. You can't go wrong with this soup but as with everything you will find you can easily adjust the ingredients to your own taste the more times you make it. If you're making this for a group of people it can easily be made the day before and tastes even better the following day.
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:3hr › Ready in:3hr30min
Put the ham shank into a large pot and fill with water up to the ham. To take away the saltiness of the ham bring to the boil and cook for ten minutes. Disgard water and refill with fresh water.Bring to boil and simmer ham for 2 hours or until falling away from the bone.
When the ham is almost cooked melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the carrot, celery and onion on a low heat covered,stirring ocasionaly for 15-20 mins or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2 mins more.
Remove the ham from the pot and set aside reserving the cooking water in a large bowl. Transfer the vegetables to the pot the ham was cooked in and add all the remaining ingredients except the cream. Skim off any scum from the ham cooking water and taste the water for saltiness. If its not too salty add enough of it to the soup pot so that the ingredients are just about covered. If its too salty use less and top the stock up with fresh water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins or until the lentils are soft and cooked. Remove the bay leaf and blend the soup. I find blending it until there is still some texture left in it best. Break or shred the ham and stir into soup. Check seasoning. If using the cream, let the soup cool for 30 mins or so then stir in the cream
this is a soup worth cooking, I changed the curry powder for half a spoon of mustard powder and had to add more stock because the lentils just soaked up the liquid that had covered the shank. Brilliant for cold days and I will freeze some to see how that works too. - 15 Jan 2013