The leftover Christmas ham bone HAD to be used… and not in the traditional black-eyed pea pot that I’ve never wanted to eat on New Years Day. So why not start a new tradition with a pot of lentils and cornbread instead?
Lentils are a high fiber super legume. They have excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins and protein. Did I mention all of the above is also fat free? Nothing guilty about eating this soup. I prefer the French green ones – they hold their shape and aren’t overly mushy.
Do not skip the balsamic vinegar… it’s the secret ingredient.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 carrots peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 1 small can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 ham bone or ham hock
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups chicken stock
- Salt & pepper
- 1 can cannellini beans
- 1/2 package frozen spinach, squeezed dry
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 turkey kielbasa
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat oil in large soup pot. Add garlic, carrots, celery, shallots, onions and cook until soft about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in tomato paste and crushed red pepper. Cook 2 minutes to brown the paste. Stir in lentils, tomatoes, ham bone, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Add chicken broth then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add balsamic vinegar, cannellini beans, spinach, lemon juice and sausage. Stir contents of pot then cover again and simmer, 15-20 minutes longer, or until lentils are soft. Remove and discard bay leaf and ham bone. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and garnish with drizzles of oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.