We’ve been serving spiral sliced hams at work this week – and that means we’ve had quite a few ham bones.  Under normal circumstances we don’t take home leftovers, but exceptions are made form time to time – especially in the case of ham bones for soup!  I was able to bring one home yesterday, and we’ve had quite a few employees who have been the happy recipients of some nice and meaty bones.

It always surprises me that so many people have no idea what to do with a ham bone!  It’s a shame, really, because if they took the time to make a pot of soup now and again, they’d never buy the canned stuff, again.

Making soup is – literally – throwing stuf in a pot and cooking it down a bit.  There’s no big secret, no special talent necessary.  It’s stuff in a pot.  I do ‘clean out the refrigerator’ soups all winter long.  Bits of this and that, leftover anything.  Into the pot it goes.  Most of the time the only seasonings necessary are salt and pepper.  The ingredients speak for themselves.

This recipe is an approximation, because I don’t measure things like “water” and carrots, celery, and such are whatever’s in the ‘fridge at the time.

Lentil Soup

  • meaty ham bone
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute carrots, celery, and onion in a bit of oil or butter.  Add ham bone, water, lentils, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until lentils are tender.

Remove ham bone and remove as much meat as possible. Chop meat and return to lentil soup.   Taste, and add salt and pepper, as desired.

For this particular soup, we had about a cup of red lentils and a cup of French lentils, so the red lentils went in first, and after we pulled out the ham bone, we hit the pot with an immersion blender, and then added the cup of French lentils and let them cook down.

At the end I stirred in a bit of Victor’s roasted garlic butter – because it was there.

I also made mini grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on rye bread.  I had a loaf of mini-rye bread that was perfect for the job.  Ham, American cheese, and butter on the bread.  That was it.  As plain and basic as one can get.

It was good.