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June 5, 2010

Ham and Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala

I'm cleaning out my freezer. Basically this just means I have stuff in there that has been there close to the 3 month mark and it needs to go. Plus, well, the budget is tight this month with me off for 2 weeks and paying for all the summer activities the boys are up to. Man, kids are expensive! You think when they get older and you don't have to pay for daycare that the money will just start rolling in? Not so much...kids are busy! They ruin clothing faster, they hurt themselves and have to go to the ER where you fight with the insurance company because apparently a 2 yr old needs an accident report to make sure he didn't harm himself at his place of work....

ANYWAY - onto the soup:

I made a version of this soup a long time ago and LOVED it - loved it so much I went out and bought a ham and made it again a month later - this is not normal for me. I am a cook that doesn't really have a typical "rotation" of meals. Sure, I do spaghetti and chili in the colder months, a fabulous pasta salad in the spring/summer but for the most part I just love experimenting...with food that is ;)

This soup is basically made from leftovers and pretty cheap ingredients - I actually have garam masala and star anise in my cupboards fairly regularly, so maybe I'm being a big fat liar right now, but they're readily accessible at any grocery store - even down here - so I think you should be good.

So without any further ado...

Ham and Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masal
(phew! that's a mouthful!)

1 leftover ham bone with meat attached - and leftover slices set aside to chunk up and add after you make the broth.
About 12 cups of water - or enough to cover the bone
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 bay leaves
5 cloves sliced garlic
1-2" pc ginger, sliced
1 tsp coriander seeds

Add the above to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Simmer on low about 2 hours or until reduced by 1/3.
Remove bone and any fat and chop meat into bite sized pieces.
(I usually do this the night before so that I can refrigerate the stock and then just take the fat off with a spoon)

1 Tbsp
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 white onion (med - lg), diced
2 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

3 cups red lentils - less if you like it soupier.

Sautee vegetables in oil 4-5 minutes until slightly soft. Add spices and stir a couple minutes but be careful not to let them burn. Add stock and bring to a boil - lower to simmer, add chopped ham and cook about half hour. Add lentils and cook 15 mn or until cooked through.

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