Last summer, I grew kale for the first time. The nursery only had ornamental flowering kale seedlings instead of the edible garden variety. I bought the ornamental kale for fun and put it with my flowers. I guess I had gotten what I wanted after all, as it turned out to be the kind that we normally eat! My children love snapping off the kale leaves for a yummy meal.
Whenever I have a baked bone-in ham, I always freeze the bone for making soup later. The smoky flavour of the ham bone is what makes this soup amazing. Boneless ham does not taste the same, although it is much easier. For a quick short-cut, I have also used a bone-in ham steak with great results.
I had enough kale to make some hearty soup and a side dish of sauteed kale with garlic and chicken broth. What a shock to hear from all the kiddies, "Mom, can I please have more kale?" Whoa...
Kale and Lentil Soup with Ham
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup each chopped celery and chopped carrots
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 whole meaty smoked ham shank, ham hock (About 2 lbs) or bone-in ham steak
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) kale, stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces
salt to taste
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 mins. Add thyme and oregano and cook 1 more minute.
Add remaining ingredients except parsley, vinegar and salt. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for an hour.
Remove ham from soup. Add kale to soup and bring to rapid simmer, cover and cook until kale wilts, about 5 minutes.
Cut meat from ham shank and return meat to pot. Discard bone. Stir in parsley and vinegar. Taste soup and add more pepper and salt if desired.
- Adapted from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry (Dinner Dates: Ham and Split Pea Soup with Lentils) and Food.com: Sausage Lentil and Kale Soup