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Lentil Soup
From The Good Food : Soups, Stews, and Pastas, by Daniel Halpern and Julie Strand

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lentils, rinsed
2 smoked ham hocks (about 1 pound) or 1 ham bone preferably smoked
9 cups Chicken Stock or water
1 bay leaf
1 cup canned Italian tomatoes, with liquid, chopped
1 pound fresh spinach, washed and chopped, or 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed of excess liquid
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and in it sauté the onion, celery, and carrots over moderately low heat until soft. Add the cumin and garlic, stir, and sauté 1 minute longer.

2. Add the lentils, ham hocks, stock or water, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, about 1 hour.

3. Remove the ham hocks and shred the meat, removing all fat and gristle. Reserve the meat.

4. Purée about half the lentils and return to the pan.

5. Add the ham, the spinach, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve in heated bowls.

Yield: Serves 6

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