Though it’s back up into the eighties now, last week we had several days of true autumnal weather…it was lovely! Starting the mornings with wool socks and a fire in the woodstove, wearing sweaters and scarves when walking outside, pumpkin spice candles glowing in the mornings and evenings…there was even a day or two of rain. It was glorious! Obviously this meant cool weather fall-ish food so I made some incredibly yummy pumpkin pie cupcakes that we topped with maple-syrup-sweetened cream cheese. And for the meal preceding those, Aaron requested the honey mustard lentil and ham soup that I came up with a couple years ago. I considered that quite a success since, when we were first married, Aaron was a self-proclaimed soup-disliker (“hater” might be too strong) and I’ve been slowly trying to win him over during the past couple years…and I think it’s working! So, in celebration of the coming fall (it takes awhile here in CA…but at least the 100 degree weather is over for now), I decided to share this soup recipe.
Honey Mustard Lentil and Ham Soup
Roughly chop several onions and place in a large soup pot with a stick of butter. Peel a head of garlic (don’t chop) and add to the pot. Cook on medium high heat for awhile, until the onions start to brown. Roughly dice some ham (I use Trader Joe’s Sliced Rosemary Ham…it’s actually lunch meat, but it’s the only ham I could find that didn’t have any nitrates/nitrites and wasn’t majorly expensive…it’s really yummy!) and add to the garlic and onions. Add 3-4 cups of dry lentils (if you rinse them, make sure to let them drain for awhile and possibly dry them a little [or don’t rinse them at all…appalling, I know!] since extra water can keep them from browning) and brown everything for a couple more minutes. Add 8-12 cups of strong chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in a large spoonful of whole grain mustard and several big glops of honey. Add some thyme, rosemary, sage and freshly ground pepper. Cover and let boil for awhile, until the lentils are tender and starting to separate…if there’s too much water and you want a thicker soup, remove the lid for part of this boiling time. Ladle into big bowls and serve with fresh bread. Mmmm!