Hi folks! BBC1 here again, to carry on with the next installment of our thrifty ham saga. I do hope you liked the first post, Boiled Bacon, Lentil Pease Pudding, Carrots & Potatoes, except for the photo of course! Which is also where you can see how the stock for this soup is made – but don’t worry you can also make it from scratch with some decent stock cubes or powder!
This soup is such a winter warmer and total comfort food for me. I really enjoy this with some good crusty white farmhouse bread, shame we didn’t have any! It just reminds me of snuggling up warm and cosy when it’s cold, overcast and miserable outside.
As I said before, I think this kind of cooking is an art form, not an exact science. You need to ‘feel’ your way around the soup and add the vegetables and things you like, tasting as you go. Any root veg could go in and there is a plethora of herbs and spices you could use, but I like to keep this as simple as possible.
Approx’ 4 to 5 pints of ham/bacon stock from your previously cooked meal – you could of course use boiling water and ham stock cubes/powder, depending on you local stores/shops
Diced cooked ham – approx 8oz
Left over lentil pease pudding, plus about a further 2 to 3oz of red split lentils or approx 8 to 10oz of fresh lentils if making from scratch
Left over cooked potatoes and carrots – equivalent to one large potato and carrot each
One diced onion
3 sticks of celery diced
2 to 3 carrots peeled and diced
4 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
1 ham stock cube – we’ve found the only place we can get them these days is Waitrose.
Seasoning to taste – be careful with salt, because the ham stock can be quite salty, so you need to taste before adding any
If, like me, your stock is still on a low heat from cooking the ham, add your leftover veg and and pease pudding to the pot and bring it to a gentle simmer. Then add your fresh lentils, the diced onion and a stock cube.
If you are starting from scratch or have no leftover veg and pease pudding, bring your water to a boil and add your stock cubes – one for each pint of water, or whatever your brand says. Then add your roughly chopped carrot, potato, onion and fresh lentils and turn down to a simmer.
Regularly stir the soup to ensure the lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once your lentils are thoroughly cooked and the veg is almost breaking up, use a stick blender to blend all of the ingredients to a liquid. Alternatively, you can blend the base in batches in a food processor.
Return the base soup to a gentle simmer and add your uncooked diced celery, carrots and potatoes and simmer until your vegetables are cooked. Just before they are cooked, add your diced ham to warm through in the soup.
Do remember to stir the soup regularly so that the lentils don’t stick. As my darling mum would say ‘you’re stirring your love into the food’…
Taste for seasoning, mainly pepper I would suggest, and serve with a nice crusty loaf, if you’ve got some!
This soup keeps well for several days in the fridge. It also freezes well if you remove the potatoes. As I’ve said in a previous post, for some reason the potatoes end up with a grainy texture after freezing. So we tend to remove or eat them before freezing and just dice a fresh one and boil this to add to the soup when reheating. But the soup is great without potato too.
Not perhaps the clearest of recipes I’ve written and posted, but I’ve been making this soup for years and as I said previously, I ‘feel’ my way through it. I’ve never weighed anything previously, I just ‘do it’ tasting and adjusting as I go. Maybe adding some more lentils here and there to thicken it to a consistency I like, or adding some hot stock to thin it down. The one thing it rarely needs is salt, but that is such a subjective taste and depends on how salty your joint was.
I must say that making soup is, I think, my favourite form of cooking as it reminds me of my childhood. My mum and dad would both make soups and stews from anything: lamb; turkey; chicken; beef; vegetables etc. Personally, other than cooking homemade bread, I think there is nothing more welcoming or inviting than the aromas of soups and stews wafting about the home.
What are your favourite soups/stews and what do you like to cook the most?