Lentil Soup is definitely a classic dish in our home. As a staple in Italian cuisine, and of the Cucina Povera, (poor man's food or peasant food) - lentils are not only a delicious legume, but also rich in fiber, protein and a good source of iron. These very small legumes can easily be kept in the pantry and then be transformed into either a delicious soup, side dish, cold salad or even into small, fried patties. With just a few ingredients these small lentils are quickly made into a perfect comfort dish.
So happy that I stopped my husband just on time before he was able to throw away the most amazing reduction from the ham we had just prepared in a Dutch Oven. It was covered in a thick layer that did not have the best of appearance, but underneath was a full of flavor, gelatinous reduction. Two scoopfuls of ice were tossed on top of the leftover reduction covered in fat. All the fat attached itself to the ice separating the reduction from the fat. Once we removed the ice with the fat, here was now our fat free delicious reduction waiting to be introduced to a hardy dish. What better way to use our reduction than to finally introduce it in today's lentil soup.
300 grams ham (optional) We personally had leftover meat from a Smithfield Pork Shoulder Picnic Ham we had cooked a few days prior
Bone from the Picnic Ham (optional)
120 grams red wine
2 1/2 liters water
350 grams bone broth (vegetable broth can be used)
4 rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper flakes to taste
Fresh lemon juice to enhance the flavor of the soup and for garnish
Preheat the The Marinara Wood-Fired Pizza Oven with a gentle fire. The flames should not billow across the top of the dome of the oven. The temperature should be 300°-325°F - 148°-162°C.
Dice the onion, carrots and celery, as shown in the video.
Mince the garlic.
Loosely shred the leftover picnic ham and set aside. The meat is totally optional, and can be omitted to create a vegetarian dish.
In a pot, heat the water and bone broth or vegetable broth. We did not add additional salt, because the bone broth/reduction, and the meat were salty enough.
In a preheated skillet, drizzle some olive oil and sauté the onion.
Once the onion is translucent, stir in the garlic, cayenne pepper flakes and whole rosemary sprigs. Allow to simmer for about one minute.
Add the carrots and celery to the mix, stirring all ingredients. Gently sauté over 10 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized.
Pour the lentils into the mixture and allow to marry with the veggies for about 3-4 minutes.
Remove from the oven and carefully pour in the wine. Allow the wine to "sfumare" or cook out.
Once the wine has cooked out, transfer the sautéed veggies and lentils to the pot with the simmering water and bone broth.
Remove the sprigs of rosemary and add the bay leaves.
Cover the pot with a lid and place back into the oven to simmer for about 35 minutes or until the lentils are just tender. Do not overcook.
Once the lentils have become tender, the pot can be removed from the oven and the soup is ready to be served. It is absolutely delicious with a squirt of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of good olive oil. Serve with slices of bread. Enjoy!