Lentil Soup With Smoked Ham Hock

Lentil soup with smoked ham hock

jules / Flickr CC 2.0 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
360 Calories
4g Fat
57g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 360
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 963mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 10mg 48%
Calcium 75mg 6%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 956mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Lentils make for a rich and earthy soup even with the fewest of ingredients, and unlike beans, don't require any soaking. For this lentil soup with ham hock, the smoky, meaty flavor from the ham adds a strong savory element, making for a satisfying taste.

If you have a butcher nearby, they should have ham hocks; they're relatively inexpensive as far as a cut of pork goes because they are mostly bone and collagen, and contain little meat. In grocery stores, it can sometimes be tricky to find ham hocks—they're often sold frozen or fresh. If for some reason you can't, feel free to use a pork shank or even smoked bacon.

The meat should fall off the bone after a couple of hours of low and slow cooking. This soup is easy to prepare and is a mostly hands-off process, cooking away while you're doing other things.


  • 1 smoked ham hock

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 1 quart beef broth

  • 1 leaf bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

  • 1 cup diced carrots

  • 2 cups diced onions

  • 1 cup diced celery

  • 2 cups dry lentils

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Add the beef broth, chicken stock, dried thyme, black pepper, bay leaf, cayenne, and ham hock into a soup pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and simmer covered for another 30 minutes.

  2. Add the lentils and simmer covered for another 30 minutes. Remove cover and skim off any excess fat from the surface. Continue to simmer another 15 to 20 minutes uncovered, until the lentils are tender and the pork is falling off the bone. Taste for salt, adjust seasoning, and serve with chopped fresh parsley.


This recipe specifies salt to taste because sometimes smoked ham hocks can be salty. Some people like to rinse them the night before they cook them to remove any excess salt, but it's not necessary. That being said, taste the soup periodically as it cooks to make sure it's not too salty; it's easier to add more salt if it's needed, but it's much trickier to correct for an overly salted dish.


  • Feel free to add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Liquid Smoke if you would like to accentuate the smoky flavor or if you can't find a smoked ham hock.
  • You can also cook this soup in the slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours if you'd like to make it a completely hands off process.

How to Store and Freeze Lentil Soup with Smoked Ham Hock

This is one of those soups that tastes better on the second and third days, after the flavors have had a chance to meld. You can keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

To freeze, transfer the soup to an airtight container or zip-close freezer bag (press out as much air as possible) and freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost in the microwave or in a small saucepan, and heat until completely hot.

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