Not my Grandmother's Lentil Soup
This is because my grandmother really didn't use much in the way of herbs and spices. Her herbs and spices were exclusively onion, celery, salt and pepper except for special occasions, when she would take the dill out of the freezer (chopped fresh and kept frozen until needed).
I am also basically lazy. I like to throw everything in a pot, cook it, freeze it in portion sizes and then be able to just thaw and eat as needed. So this is a crock-pot recipe.
I will include instructions for making ham stock but this is not necessary. I make this with and without stock. The difference is whether I've bought a bone-in ham or not.
Throw as much of the fat and bone and un-chewable parts of a ham as you can cut off the meat into a crock pot. Cook on low for 12 - 24 hours. Let cool. Put in containers in the fridge. When the fat congeals on the top of the containers, skim the fat, put labels on the containers, and freeze.
2 - 3 medium onions, diced small
olive oil for frying onions
2 - 4 carrots, diced
2 - 4 stalks celery, chopped
2 - 4 potatoes, cubed (larger than the carrots)
2 - 4 cups diced ham
One bag of lentils
ham stock and/or water to cover
2 bay leaves
red pepper flakes to taste (I use about 1 tsp)
Fry the onions in the olive oil until clear.
Put the onions, all the vegetables, and the ham in the crock pot.
Rinse the lentils and inspect for stones. Add to crockpot.
Cover with stock and/or water - you'll need to more than just cover it as the lentils expand when cooked.
Add the bay leaves and pepper flakes.
Cook on low until done but not more than 10 hours (the ham loses all flavor if you cook it too long).