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Hearty Lentil Soup

Oh, you wise lentil lover! This homey, fragrant lentil soup tastes wonderful on a chilly day; and it has valuable nutrition and fiber. You can make this lentil soup without the ham or bone — just replace the 3 quarts of water in the list of ingredients with 2-1/2 quarts of defatted chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water.

Lentil Soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours

Yield: 6 servings

3 cloves garlic

3 stalks celery

4 carrots

1 large onion

1 cup brown lentils

1 cup yellow lentils

1/2 cup orange or red lentils

Ham bone with about 1/2 cup ham on the bone

3 quarts water

1 teaspoon thyme

Salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

  1. Peel the garlic cloves. Dice the celery (including the leaves) and the carrots. Peel and dice the onion. Rinse the lentils.

  2. In a large soup pot, add the water and drop in the bone. Simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours.

  3. Remove the bone from the broth and let the bone cool. Pick the meat off the bone and cut the fat off the meat. Discard the fat.

  4. Defat the stock.

    You can use a defatting cup, or let the broth chill in the refrigerator and then pick off the congealed fat.

  5. Lightly coat a clean soup pot with no-stick vegetable oil spray, and heat over medium-high heat.

  6. Add the garlic, 1 cup celery, 1-1/2 cups carrots, and the onion. Lightly spray the vegetables with oil spray and, if needed, add a few teaspoons of water for moisture.

  7. Sauté for about 6 minutes, stirring.

  8. Add the lentils, defatted stock, meat, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

    The red lentils will have disintegrated.

  9. Dice the tomatoes.

  10. Season the soup with salt (if desired), black pepper, and crushed red pepper.

  11. Ladle the soup into 6 serving bowls and top each serving with a sprinkling of feta cheese (if desired) and diced tomatoes.

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