Ham and Lentil Soup
Recipes > Soups > Ham and Lentil Soup

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Recipe Checklist:
  • 1 LB Green or Brown Lentils (Dried)
  • 1 Ham Hock
  • 3 T Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Yellow Onions (Brunoise)
  • ½ cup Celery (Finely Chopped)
  • ½ cup Carrots (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Clove Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 LB Cooked Smithfield Ham (Chopped)
  • 1 t Salt
  • 3/4 t Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 8 cup Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 t Fresh Thyme
Tools & Equipment
  • Cutting Board
  • Chefs Knife
  • Measuring Cup
  • Large Sauce Pot
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Strainer
Estimated Time
1 Hour 45 Minutes
Serves 8-10
+ -


The longest lead-time item will be soaking the Lentils. Place the Lentils in a large Sauce Pot, and add water so that the Lentils are submerged under about 2 inches of water. Soak for about 8 hours or overnight. Drain the Lentils and set them aside.

Ham Hocks are typically available, one hock per package, from better Butchers or meat counters.

The knife work for this Soup includes rinsing the vegetables before prepping them. Brunoise the Yellow Onion. Prepare the Celery before Fine Chopping it. Wash and Peel the Carrots before Chopping them finely, too. Peel the Garlic and then Mince the Garlic. Gently wash the fresh Thyme and then De-Stem the Thyme. Rough Chop the Thyme leaves. 

We call for cooked Smithfield Ham because we like the flavor and they are widely available. If you have some other source of Ham that you prefer, by all means use your favorite. Before chopping the Ham meat, it should be carved off the bone, if one is present.


To begin, Score the Ham Hock. Place the Ham Hock and Lentils inside the Sauce Pot, cover with water and bring to a Boil. Reduce heat and let Simmer for 1 hour. Drain and set aside, while you do the next few steps.

Now reuse your Sauce Pot to Melt the Whole Butter over Medium/High Heat. When the Butter is melted and just beginning to brown, add in the Brunoise of Yellow Onions and, stirring frequently, Sauté them for about 2 minutes until they start to Brown and Caramelize. Next lower the heat to Medium Heat and add the in the Chopped Celery and Chopped Carrots. Cook them while stirring until they are just soft. This should take about 3 minutes. Now add the Minced Garlic and stir while cooking for another 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the Ham Hock to the Sauce Pot, as well as the Chopped Ham. Stir them in the Sauce Pot over the Medium-High Heat for ham hock and ham and cook them 3-5 minutes until they begin to Brown.

With the meat Browned a bit, add in the drained Lentils, Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes. Cook while stirring for another 2 minutes before adding in the water. Finally add in the Bay Leaf and the Thyme.

Now fire up the heat to High Heat and stirring occasionally bring the Soup to a Boil. Once a Boil is achieved, lower the heat to achieve a Simmer. Let the Soup Simmer, stirring occasionally for about an hour or until the Lentils are Knife Tender. If you feel that the water is too low at any point during the simmer (or if the soup looks too thick or too dry), just add some more water to the pot.

When the Lentils are tender, your Soup is done. Remove the Bay Leaf and discard it.

Adjust the seasoning of the Soup to taste with Salt and Pepper. Serve immediately. If you must hold the Soup, you can Hold it Warm for up to 2 hours. If instead you wish to hold it cold for 3-5 days in the refrigerator, you should remove the Soup from the heat and Temper it to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill. Remove it from the refrigerator and re-heat it prior to service.