Ham Hock and Lentil Soup

I have been trying but failing to eat some things out of the fridge/freezer the last couple of weeks. I am in desperate need of some serious real estate in both the fridge and freezer’s not only for our annual Christmas party coming up this weekend but this past Friday was mine and my girlfriends cookie making day. I have several dough’s and some cookies that need to be frozen or we will eat WAY too many of them you know just so they don’t go stale.

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I have a drawer full of various sized carrots from my garden

Yesterday I also picked up some party supplies that needed to go into the freezer.  You can only rearrange so many times before things start making closing the doors a chore.  Some things just had to come out and either be dealt with or throw away and the Yankee in me has a real hard time throwing out perfectly good food well technically what I took out needed to be made into a meal. One of the bags I wasn’t even sure what it was. Note to self label bags before storing. Apparently one of our World Wide Wednesday: we prepare and eat a meal from a different Country each Wednesday also affectionately known as WWW that required some ham hocks and we put the remaining two in the freezer.

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This morning I made a Fridge Frittata with half a pepper, some left over mushrooms, a few cherry tomatoes and some leftover ham and some chives that were on their way out. One drawer down and several to go! Back to the ham hocks I personally have never cooked with them; my daughter comes up with the WWW meals and I help her when she needs it. So I don’t even remember what she made with them. This last week we ate a meal from Syria and it was a lentil soup and we didn’t use all of the lentils  so abg of those were in the fridge. I currently have on the stove a Ham Hock and Lentil Soup Tada more space in the fridge; we will be eating the soup and any left overs I will send over to my in-laws.

This soup was really easy to put together and has great flavor – if you have never had lentils they are nutty and earthy in flavor and pretty healthy for you. So maybe the lentils will balance out the salty flavor of the ham hocks.

Ham Hock and Lentil Soup

2 tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
2 carrots diced
Kosher salt
Freshly crack black pepper
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme or 4-5 sprigs of fresh
2 quarts chicken stock
2-3 smoked ham hocks
1 cup Lentils soaked

In a large saucepan or medium sized stock pot, over medium heat add the olive oil. When hot add the onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper saute for 4 minutes; add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme saute for another minute.

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Add the ham hocks and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about an hour or until the ham hocks are tender.Add the lentils and continue cooking for another 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Remove from the heat and check for seasonings. If needed add a little salt and pepper; mine did not need anymore.

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Remove the ham hocks and remove the meat from them, add the ham back into the soup; discard the rest of the hocks. Serve warm with some crusty bread!

 

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

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