Well now... we now have the first snow of the 2015 season in Michigan, and a winter weather warning and a snowstorm too boot.. gosh for someone who has lived in Michigan my entire life, the older I get, the less I like this winter snowy weather.. not a fan... So needless to say it's blowing, cold, snowy & yuck! So something yummy, warm and preferably a soup, or stew is just what this weather needs..
I like this with cornbread, so make your favorite, I cheated and used a box mix (gasp, I know.. I usually like homemade, but doctored it up. I added extra cornmeal, and frozen corn to the batter to make it more "semi-homemade". And I greased the pan with bacon grease, to add even more flavor. When it comes out of the oven brush it with butter to add even another layer of flavor.. easy additions and so good.
My local Kroger store has a soup starter kit. It is located by the cut up vegetables. I included fresh chopped up onions, celery & carrots, along with a fresh spring of thyme & rosemary, along with a bag of lentils. It ran around $5, so it was great to grab for when your in a hurry. I added extra stock, and lentils, but this would work out great.
I also made this with ham hocks, but you can use smoked turkey wings, or leftover smoked ham (I hate throwing away the ham bone when I make a bone-in ham, this is a perfect thing to make with that. You can also add any leftover, chopped up ham to this for extra flavor.
Leftovers are great, and freeze well (make sure you cool completely before freezing). However you make this, make it soon and enjoy.
2 ham hocks ( you get these in the refrigerated area, by the hams)
1 cup , carrots & celery chopped small to medium
1 onion, ends removed and outside peel removed, chopped small to medium
1 sprig of fresh thyme & rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 T brown sugar
2 T molasses
1 bag of lentils
1-2 cans broth (can use, chicken, beef or vegetarian
**seasonings of your choice, I used kosher salt, pepper, about 1/2 t onion & garlic powder, 1 t of parsley flakes)
8 cups water
In large soup pan with lid, add water, ham hocks, celery, onions & carrots. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and seasonings. Bring to a rolling boil, turning down to simmer for around 1/2 hour. Cover the pan and simmer for about an hour till veggies are tender. Add lentils stirring well. Place the cover back on the lid, and simmer slowly for around an hour stirring occasionally, checking to make sure the lentils are not dry, adding the broth one can at a time until the lentils are tender and cooked thru. When the lentils are almost done add the molasses, and brown sugar. Check the seasonings and adjust adding more if needed. If the soup seems like not enough liquid add the remaining can of broth. Bring to boil, taste and if more salt & pepper are needed add it at this time. Remove the thyme & rosemary stems & bay leaf. Serve with cornbread or rolls.