Thick and Hearty Lentil Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeded and finely diced (1/4-inch)
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 smoked ham hock
8 cups water
2 1/2 cups of French lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 tsp herbs de provence
1 large potato, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 baguette, sliced
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and onion and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Add water, ham hock, lentils, herbs de provence and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, with the lid partly on, stirring occasionally. Add the potato and simmer 30 more minutes. Add a bit more water (about 1/2 cup) to reach desired consistency. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper and cook for 10 more minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with a baguette.
Note: I find that the smaller the carrots and celery are diced, the more flavorful. I put them in the food processor and julienne. I use French lentils (lentils du puy or vert).
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