This lentil soup recipe is a great way to use up leftover ham from Easter. It is also a perfect dish to use a saved parmesan cheese rinds that I keep stored in the freezer for occasions just like this. You can tailor the soup to be more stew-like (like this picture) or adjust the cooking time and liquid to make it more soupy. Either way, serve it with grilled Italian bread and glass of red wine.
Watch the video to see how easy it is to make soup with a parmesan rind.
Italian Lentil Soup with Ham and a Parmesan Rind
An Italian Lentil soup is healthy and hearty! My version is spicy and includes lots of garlic and leftover Easter ham. The secret to a great lentil or minestrone soup is the addition of a Parmesan cheese rind to the soup during the last 20 minutes. It melts in creating a bowl of heaven.
- 2 cups diced leftover ham or substitute pancetta, bacon or Italian sausage
- 1 lb dry lentils
- 3 TB olive oil
- 1 tsp each red and black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 large whole onion diced
- 5 carrots diced
- 5 stalks celery diced with leaves
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water as needed to cover
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 TB dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Parmesan rind frozen or fresh
In a large dutch oven on the the stove, add the olive oil, red & black peppers garlic and onion and saute until translucent. Add the celery, ham and thyme and cook for another 10 minutes until the ham starts to caramelize. Stir in carrots, lentils, chicken stock, oregano, and bay leaf. Add more water to cover all the ingredients if needed.
Add the whole Parmesan rind and be sure it is submerged in the liquid. Cover and cook 40-45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Toss out bay leaf and parm rind before serving.
Serve with toasted garlic bread and grated parmesan cheese. Goes wonderful with a bold red wine.