LENTIL SOUP WITH ROSEMARY
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/4 pound Virginia ham (1 thick slice), very finely chopped
3 cans (about 13 ounces each) low-sodium chicken stock, skimmed of fat
3 cups water
1 pound lentils
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, crushed in the palm, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 cup canned imported tomatoes, with their juice
Pinch of crushed red pepper, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole. Add the onion,
carrots, celery, and ham. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally,
for 8 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
Add the stock, water, and lentils and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat, add the rosemary, tomatoes, crushed red pepper,
and black pepper. Cover the pot with a lid.
Simmer the soup for 1 hour or until the lentils are falling apart.
Remove 2 cups of the soup from the pot and puree it in a blender.
Return the pureed soup to the pot and continue simmering for 20
minutes or until the soup tastes slightly smoky.
Taste for seasoning, add salt, if you like, and more black or red
pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve at once.