- 1 package of lentils (I think about 1.5 cups?)
- (I added some small red-orange lentils that I had on hand)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- Carrots (recipe calls for one, I used many!)
- 3 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 ham hocks or shanks
- 2 bay leaves
- water (recipe called for about 7 cups, but since I had more of everything else, just added more)
- Hot Italian Sausage ( 1 pound package)
- salt and pepper to taste
Day before-cook ham shanks in a large pot of water, with salt, pepper, some cut pieces of onion and celery. Simmer all day. Cool slightly, remove meat from bones and set aside. Discard vegetables. Remove fat from broth using gravy separator. Store broth and meat together overnight.
Heat 1 T olive oil in large soup pot, and gently cook the onion for about 5 minutes, add celery, leek, carrots, bay leaves, and lentils. Stir. Add ham meat and broth. Bring to a boil and skim surface if necessary. Simmer for at least an hour, longer is ok.
Add italian sausage (uncooked) to the soup pot and cook well, another 30 minutes minimum. Take these out when cooked and quarter lengthwise and dice. Return the meat to the pot and keep soup warm until serving.
In my case, I served the soup to a group of 10 hungry high school boys with some banana bread, fresh whole wheat bread and some chocolate cupcakes. They left satisfied! And there was enough left over to refrigerate for reheating!