Thursday, January 11, 2024

Lentils and Ham

If you're here because of seeing my post on Instagram about using up last of the smoked ham I had bought for Christmas (guests had cancelled last minute - so we had a bit of leftovers) - then get cracking on making this comforting meal.  Remember, you don't have to follow the recipe to a "t" -  tweak the recipe your taste bud way!  I've never gone wrong with this easy recipe that originates from a Fanny Farmer cookbook that I've had since the 1980's.  I modify with what I have on hand, that's how I cook, nothing goes to waste and I like to think Fanny would have approved of this. 

Ingredients (assemble to make it easier to follow my instructions):

1 cup dried lentils
5 cups of water (I plop in some Madeira wine) 
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 tablespoon of olive oil (EVOO)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tomatoes, seeded, and chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1 bay leaf
1 preserved lemon, chopped up
Splosh of smoked essence
2 cups of ham, in bite-sized pieces


Wash the lentils (I used green in my Instagram post). I braise my veggies (use a dollop of EVOO) prior to adding the lentils/water, etc. because I find it releases more flavour.  If this isn't your thing due to time factor, skip it.  Add 5 cups of water with onion, parsley, garlic, celery, pepper, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes or more until tender (lid on but slightly ajar). Drain, reserve liquid, put lentils into a casserole dish (I split it up between 2 - one for now - one to be frozen for later).  Put the liquid that's left over from simmering lentils (generally about 2 1/2 cups - a bit more is fine) back into saucepan, boil briskly until it is reduced by about 1/2, about 15 minutes (watch carefully).  Pour over lentils, stir in the ham, cover, and bake for 1 hour in a preheated oven of 350F / 180C.  Serving size of 6.

You'll notice no salt was added into the recipe - because a smoked ham tends to be a bit of the salty side, I don't bother putting any in.  If you really want to put in some salt, all I can say is, use a good salt.  I love to use smoked salt - and this article at The Salt Box will show you why I love it (I use Alderwood).

I used Nutrition Value Org to give me a rough idea of the carbs / fiber / protein - which came to ~ 30 grams of carbs when factoring it all in along side of a salad.  If you ever need to have an idea of nutritional values of any recipe you may come across or make up, I thoroughly recommend it!

Picture of a plate with mixed salad and the lentil and ham dish

 One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well 

~Virginia Woolf~


BTW, you'll notice I haven't posted a blog in quite a while, and have been posting mainly on Instagram or X (and now Threads).  The Pandemic sadly did me in mentally, as it did for many others. One day I'll get around to writing exactly the nitty gritty (some of you know or have heard some of the podcasts I've been invited to talk about it). Main thing, one day at a time, and the light is at the end of the tunnel - right?  One way I have with coping with thoughts that aren't good, is to cook up a meal to share with loved ones which I hope this one will do for you.

Happy New Year!

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