Puy Lentil and Ham Hock Soup

This soup combines two of my favourite things…ham, of any type, and lentils. It is a filling hearty soup, perfect for this time of the year.

Ham hock is a very inexpensive piece of meat, for about €4 you get a lot of meat for your money. 
This soup was a big hit with the grown ups and the two older girls loved it, the younger two children decided they didn’t like the look of it but I’m sure I’ll convince them given time.
This is a really filling soup as you are getting protein from both the meat and the lentils…great to keep you full for longer.

1 Ham Hock
4 large carrots chopped into small cubes
3/4 Celery Sticks chopped small
1 Leek, chopped small
1 Chicken Stock Pot
250g of Puy Lentils, well rinsed 

Place the ham hock in a saucepan and cover with a generous amount of cold water, bring it to the boil and turn the heat down and allow it to simmer for about 2 hours, at this stage the meat will just fall off the bone. Remove the fat and shred the meat into chunks. Reserve the cooking water.
Sweat the veg in a small amount of water , with some parchment paper on top, for about 20 mins.
Add the lentils, the stock pot and 4 pints of the ham water. Simmer for 20/25 mins until the lentils are cooked but still have a bite.
Add back in the ham and warm through. 
The soup needs very little, if any, seasoning as the ham add salt and the lentils have a lovely peppery taste.
Serve with crust bread.

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