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Lentil and ham soup

A traditional British recipe, this hearty soup is very filling and makes a satisfying meal in itself. Make the ham stock the day before. Cut some of the ham off the shank, dice it and add to the soup after blending.

ingredients

serves 4 to 6.
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 large celery stalks, scrubbed and roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
75 g (3 oz) split yellow lentils
1 large fresh parsley sprig or 1/2 tsp dried parsley
Few celery leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves, crushed
1 litre (2 pints) homemade ham stock
Cooked diced ham
Chopped fresh parsley to finish

method

1. Put all the ingredients, except the ham, with 600 ml (1 pint) (1 pint) of the stock in a large saucepan.

2. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until everything is soft and mushy.

3. Puree in an electric blender or work through a sieve or Mouli-legumes.

4. Return to the rinsed-out pan. Add the remaining stock and pieces of ham.

5. Reheat gently. Adjust seasoning. Stir in plenty of chopped parsley and serve.

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