Soup

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

Carrot Soup

I was initially going to start this post with I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving with your family and friends; I literally had to backspace over the statement because it donned on me that this is a North American holiday and not everyone celebrates it and I actually do have a few readers out of the US that I am sure were doing something else all-together this past Thursday; probably working??? So for those of you who gathered with friends and/or family I hope your turkey was moist, your stuffing/dressing had an amazing crust and there was some room for the yummy pies that were sitting on the counter.

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My day started off pretty relaxed at first sitting at the island with a nice cup of tea with my hubby. Since we were not eating till 3 and we prepped all the veggies, made the pies and set the table the night before this should be a breeze right! For how organized I think I am and all the lists and yes I even make a timeline of sorts just so things have enough time to cook and kind of show up at the table somewhat warm.

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I started making my dinner rolls; easy – then I focused on the dressing and it went downhill from there just a bit; I forgot to pick up a fennel bulb, really Donna one of the main ingredients for your dressing, so I double checking I had everything else I needed for the day and off to the store I went. Oh did I forget to mention that I woke up ridiculously early and sat in bed convincing myself I didn’t buy a big enough bird. While at the store I also picked up a little 3 pound ham – just in case.

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I’m back at home and my nice relaxed feeling is fading fast, I make the dressing and it tastes awesome. I start to prep the bird; an hour later than I wanted to.  Once seasoned and filled with chopped up apples and onions into the 350’ oven it went. While I was cleaning off the stove top I must have hit the oven knob because when I looked over at the stove 30 or so minutes later the oven was set at 250’ UGH here we go! Long story short thanks to my convection oven; which I turned on when I took off the tinfoil to brown; did the trick. Though I was really hoping to let the bird rest for at least an hour it ended up being closer to 30 minutes and we ate a little later than 3.  But it was gorgeous brown and very moist I wanted to take a picture to share but it was a little hectic in the kitchen and I had made people wait a little longer than I had envisioned so you are going to have to take my word for it.

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Oh and I need to share one more little misstep I made this year. My daughter had made a whole 3 quart pot of sliced carrots that I cooked but they never made it to the table. I put them up on the shelf above the stove top to get them out the way to make my gravy and never found them again till I was cleaning up. This is the first time ever there were not carrots on the Thanksgiving table and no one said anything.  My son thought to himself that it was kind of weird there weren’t any but I would have thought my daughter would have remembered she peeled a boat load of something not on the table, I am all for leftovers but what to do with SO many cooked carrots… I’ve always wanted to try and make carrot soup so that is what I did on Friday.

 

Carrot Soup

½ stick of butter
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
3 cups carrots peeled, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 Cups chicken stock or use turkey broth if you made some
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice – I added the lemon zest but felt it was too much
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Melt butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onions; saute for 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; saute for another 2 minutes. Add chopped carrots (I added a few fresh ones and kept the cooked ones out until everything else was done) tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and puree with either an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Return soup to the pot and add lemon juice to taste, just enough to brighten the dish, not over power it. Season with salt and pepper; top with a dollop of sour cream.