Lentil soup with ham

A true comfort food: warms the soul and body! This satisfying, one meal soup was inspired by my Hungarian mum's bean soups ;) 

Ingredients

1 ham hock 1 middle sized onion 3 bay leaves 4-5 garlic cloves cleaned salt pepper 3 carrots chopped into cubes 3 celery stalks sliced 400g of brown or green lentil 4 tbsp of vegetable oil 3 tbsp of standard flour 2 tbsp of sweet paprika powder chopped parsley sour cream (optional)

Method

Rinse the ham hock and put it in a big pot and cover with cold water. Peel off only the very top brown layer from the onion and then make a cross cut into it from the top with a knife, taking care that you do not cut through as you want the onion to stay in one. Put the onion together with the hock and water and add the bay leaves, garlic cloves and salt and pepper. Bring it to the boil then turn the heat down as you just want to simmer it for about 1,5-2 hours. When the broth is ready, take out the onion and the bay leaves and discard them, and add the carrots and celery and the washed lentils to it and cook it at medium heat for about 20 minutes. Then after this 20 minutes you can start preparing the roux in a separate, small pan: add the oil and flour and put it on medium heat while you stir it constantly until it changes to a darker beige color. Then take it off the heat and add the paprika powder to it (some good quality Hungarian or Spanish). At this point take the hock and all its pieces out of the soup on a plate to cool. Now you are ready to stir this roux slowly but continuously into the soup (which is still on medium heat) and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until you do not taste the flour in the soup. Now your soup is ready! Get all the tender and juicy meat out of the hock and cut it into small pieces. Serve the soup hot with the ham pieces, chopped parsley and with a bit of sour cream. If you need extra calories then have a slice of crusty, sourdough bread with it! Bon appétit!

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