Chefs' Recipes

Smoked ham hock, caramelised onion and lentil soup

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for smoked ham hock, caramelised onion and lentil soup from The Blue Swimmer in NSW.

  • 35 mins preparation
  • 4 hrs 50 mins cooking plus cooling, chilling
  • Serves 4
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Smoked ham hock, caramelised onion and lentil soup
"The Blue Swimmer's smoky ham and lentil soup is one of my favourite winter dishes. Would you please provide the recipe?"
Matthew Langer, Kiama, NSW


  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 450gm)
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 200 gm small green lentils
  • 150 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50 ml verjuice
  • ¼ cup (loosely packed) sage, coarsely torn
  • 200 ml pouring cream
  • To serve: crusty bread


  • 1
    Coarsely chop half the carrot and half the celery, combine with hock, leek, bay leaves, thyme and 1.5 litres water in a large saucepan over medium heat and simmer until hock is tender (2½-3 hours). Remove hock, set aside to cool (30 minutes), then coarsely shred meat (discard skin and bones) and refrigerate until required. Strain 1.7 litres stock (discard solids; reserve remaining liquid for another use), refrigerate until chilled (4 hours) and skim fat (discard).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, cook lentils in a saucepan of simmering water over medium heat until tender (15-25 minutes), drain and set aside.
  • 3
    Heat butter and oil in a casserole over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until golden (30-35 minutes). Finely chop remaining carrot and celery, add to pan and stir occasionally until tender (10-12 minutes). Deglaze with verjuice, add lentils, 1.5 litres stock, half the sage and three-quarters of the reserved ham and simmer to develop flavours (1 hour). Blend in a blender until smooth, stir in cream and season to taste. Heat remaining stock in a small saucepan over medium heat, add remaining ham and warm through (2-3 minutes). Scatter soup with warmed ham and remaining sage and serve hot with crusty bread.


This recipe is from the August 2012 issue of .