Leek and Lentil Soup with Lemon

This is the sort of soup everyone wants to come home to; rich in flavour, interesting to eat, every mouthful different whilst managing to be both satisfying but light and lively. The starting point was the remains of a jar of Navarrico lentejas, outstanding creamy little Spanish lentils in a jar and leftover passata (see Lentil and Sausage Stew). They were added to softened onion, quite a lot of leek, a little garlic and chunks of ham hock. The soup was seriously upgraded with pheasant stock which I happened to have in my freezer (no bird escapes the stock pot in this house), with chopped flat leaf parsley, a squeeze of lemon and splash of olive oil to finish.

Serves 4

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 35 min

1 onion

1 tbsp olive oil

knob of butter

500g leeks

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp flour

900ml chicken stock (cube fine)

150ml passata

400g Navarrico lentils (from 700g jar)

½ (half) lemon

75g ham hock

25g flat leaf parsley

best olive oil

     Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt the butter in the olive oil in a spacious, lidded pan, stir in the onion with a generous pinch salt and cook for 10 minutes, giving the occasional stir to encourage uniform cooking. Meanwhile, slice the leeks in thick pennies, agitate in water and drain. Slice the garlic in thin rounds. Stir both into the onion with a second pinch salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes until the leek is wilted and soft. Sift the flour over the top, stir until disappeared, add the stock, bring to the boil, stirring so the soup thickens slightly due to the flour. Add passata, lentils and ham cut into small chunks. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper and lemon. Just before serving, stir in chopped flat leaf parsley leaves and serve with a swirl of best olive oil.