I think Lentil Soup is probably my favorite, which is kind of strange since I detested lentils growing up. My mother and grandmother would always boil up a batch, toss them with onions and lots of parsley, and eat it in Pita wedges. I could never warm up to that one. I always loved the soup though, and over the years have come to appreciate lentils in other ways as well, but you'll still never catch me eating them cold with parsley and onions!
This soup is even better if you have some nice smoked ham to go in it. I've been known to bake a ham just so I could use the leftovers to make soup! If I bake a whole bone-in ham, I'll throw the bone in the pot too. If I'm freezing leftover diced ham to make soup down the road, I'll keep the bone in the freezer until then as well. If you haven't baked a ham recently but still want to include it in your soup, you can sometimes find smoked pieces at the grocery store, or you could make do with a ham steak and just throw that in a pan for a few minutes to cook through, then dice and add it to the pot.
2-3 T Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
Salt and pepper
8-10 oz lentils
32 oz beef broth
3T dill weed
1 can Del Monte Petite Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Jalapeno
In a large stock pot, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until it just starts to take on a little color, then add the onion and celery, seasoning with about a half teaspoon each of salt and pepper and stirring frequently until the onion is translucent.
Stir in the lentils, and add just enough water to cover, then add the beef broth. Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 45".
Add the dill, tomatoes, and ham and continue to cook until the lentils are tender.
Serve up a mug (or bowl) with an additional sprinkling of dill.