Two years ago I made a ham, lentil, and rice soup for the first time. It was a pretty plain and simple soup, rather thick, and I think it came out an unappealing sort of brown. But oh boy, was it the best soup ever. I was sick with a cold and it was thick and warm and incredibly flavorful, and perfectly what I needed just then.
Here’s what I wrote about it in a livejournal community at the time:
“The ham and lentil soup wasn’t exactly made from a recipe… I had about 3 cups of ham broth, with meat bits in it, from boiling down the bone from our Christmas ham. I tossed in a couple handfuls each of rice and lentils, probably a bit more rice than lentils. I just put in what looked like a good amount. I brought it to a boil, and then simmered until the rice and lentils were getting soft. I cut up and added 2 small potatoes. Continued simmering. Then I added maybe 3/4 a cup of frozen corn, which was what I had left in a bag in the freezer. I think I added the corn not too long after the potatoes, but I don’t really remember. It doesn’t need cooked as much, though. At some point I tossed in some Italian spice mix. Oh, also probably about a cup of water, added a bit at a time here and there, when I thought the soup was getting too thick.”
Last year I made ham, lentil, and rice soup, again using homemade ham broth. Here is the recipe I made up:
~ 1-2 tbsp butter
1 sweet yellow or white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
~ 3 cups ham broth with pieces of ham
~ 2 cups water
~ 1/3 cup lentils
~ 2/3 cup rice (Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley)
Method: Melt the butter in the soup pot. Add the onion and cook until soft (do not allow to brown). Sprinkle in some coriander. Add the garlic and cook a little longer. Add the ham broth and pieces and water, and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and rice. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let simmer until lentils and rice are fully cooked.
This version was a much more broth-ey soup, but also absolutely delicious. I posted in facebook that “I made ham/lentil/rice soup and it is 100% different from the last time I made ham/lentil/rice soup.”
Yesterday, I made a third ham broth-based soup, but this version didn’t have lentils. The “recipe” is:
~4 cups ham broth with ham pieces
1 parsnip, diced
2 leeks, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
~1 cup rice (already cooked, or you could add about 1/2 cup uncooked)
~3/4 cup frozen corn
Method: Heat broth. (In my case, melt, because it was frozen.) Add parsnip and leeks and simmer for a while. Then add celery and rice and simmer some more. Last, put in the corn and simmer even more.
This version came out somewhere between the previous two in terms of thickness. The parsnips and rice combined to thicken things pretty well, but didn’t soak up all of the broth. Again, the ham broth has incredible flavor. I’m always so excited to boil down the Christmas ham, because I know these incredible soups are coming soon…