Ham bones make a great base for lentil soup. Gin and It starts by simmering the ham bone with canned tomatoes, water, and herbs, for several hours, then skimming and removing the bone; this makes a nice, rich stock for cooking the lentils and vegetables without turning them to mush.

Adding greens to a lentil soup gives color and texture. Chard, kale, and spinach are all great complements to the flavors of the lentils and porky broth. For longer-cooking greens, slice the leaves crosswise in ribbons and stir them into the soup toward the end of cooking, or add them when you begin reheating cold soup. Stir spinach in right before you’re ready to serve it, as it will wilt in hot soup in just a couple of minutes.

Val recommends this recipe for Hearty Lentil and Ham Soup, saying the cinammon stick it includes lends unusual and great flavor; she recommends cutting the stated amount of water by about half, though.

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