Smoked ham hock, caramelised onion and lentil soup


  • Serves 4 people

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 450gm)
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 200 gm small green lentils
  • 150 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50 ml verjuice
  • ¼ cup (loosely packed) sage, coarsely torn
  • 200 ml pouring cream
  • To serve: crusty bread
01   Coarsely chop half the carrot and half the celery, combine with hock, leek, bay leaves, thyme and 1.5 litres water in a large saucepan over medium heat and simmer until hock is tender (2½-3 hours). Remove hock, set aside to cool (30 minutes), then coarsely shred meat (discard skin and bones) and refrigerate until required. Strain 1.7 litres stock (discard solids; reserve remaining liquid for another use), refrigerate until chilled (4 hours) and skim fat (discard).
02   Meanwhile, cook lentils in a saucepan of simmering water over medium heat until tender (15-25 minutes), drain and set aside.
03   Heat butter and oil in a casserole over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until golden (30-35 minutes). Finely chop remaining carrot and celery, add to pan and stir occasionally until tender (10-12 minutes). Deglaze with verjuice, add lentils, 1.5 litres stock, half the sage and three-quarters of the reserved ham and simmer to develop flavours (1 hour). Blend in a blender until smooth, stir in cream and season to taste. Heat remaining stock in a small saucepan over medium heat, add remaining ham and warm through (2-3 minutes). Scatter soup with warmed ham and remaining sage and serve hot with crusty bread.
This recipe is from the August 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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