Creamy Lentil Soup with Serrano Ham

Victoria Amory thinks this soup represents the best of Andalusian country cooking. Though it's a basic recipe--you saute the aromatic vegetables, add the stock and lentils and simmer until the soup is done--pureeing it adds elegance. You can top the soup with crunchy croutons or even dress it up with a dice of foie gras.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
KEY: Fall, Winter, Stewing, Dinner Party, New Year's Eve, Spanish, Beans, Grains & Legumes, Side Dishes, Soups & Stews, Make Ahead, Dinner

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  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces Serrano ham or lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and tender green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 quarts plus 1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 2 cups brown lentils (3/4 pound), rinsed and picked over
  • 2 cups firm-textured white bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in the olive oil. Add the Serrano ham, onion, leek and carrot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the stock and lentils and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Simmer the soup over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toss the diced bread with the melted butter and bake for 8 minutes, or until browned.
  3. Puree the soup in a blender in batches; transfer the puree to a clean saucepan. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with the croutons.

Make Ahead

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The croutons can be kept in an airtight container overnight.

Contributed By Published February 2005

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