What I Made: On January 1, 2007 I made lentil soup based on an original recipe found on Epicurious which was from the book Memories of a Lost Egypt by Colette Rossant.
Why: I wanted to use up some ham that's been hanging around and the superstition calls for pork to be eaten on New Years' Day to give good luck. My mother sometimes makes Hoppin' John, but I just had to try something different. Lentils sounded more interesting than black-eyed peas (actually, the Black Eyed Peas sound better than lentils, ha, ha!) and the ham would go nicely so I searched online and found this recipe. It had very good reviews on Epicurious.
What I Did: I halved the original recipe and added the ham. Then I added some tasso ham that I discovered in the freezer while I was making it. The soup needed a little color so I added carrots. Here's what I ended up with:
1 medium onion
1 whole clove
1 1/4 cups of lentils (2/3rds of a 1-pound bag)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup ham cut into 1/4" cubes
1/4 cup tasso ham cut into 1/4" cubes
3 - 14 ounce cans of chicken stock
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic, minced
Peel the onion, stick the clove in it and place it in a saucepan with all of the other ingredients except the garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat and simmer, skimming occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the onion and bay leaf and stir in the minced garlic. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly for 10 minutes.
Review: It was unexpectedly good. Very flavorful due to the clove (one is enough) and the use of chicken broth. I'm not sure what the tasso ham added. I didn't want to add a lot because I thought it was very spicy. It wasn't.
If you try it, let me know what you think!