Beans are a South Louisiana tradition, and I’ve written much about red beans and white beans, and how they have multiple uses in the Cajun kitchen. But lentils don’t normally come to mind in the Cajun cooking conversation. Not sure why.
Lentils are a tradition of French cooking, and the good folks at New Orleans-based Camellia brand beans have been marketing their 1-pound package of lentils for years.
With my recipe for Lentil, Leek, and Mirliton Soup, I think it is time lentils come out of the shadow of their more popular cousins and take a starring role in a hearty, heart-warming soup. Well, at least a co-starring role. The addition of aromatic leeks and savory mirliton squash bring depth to the soup pot, and when spiked with smoked ham, this soup shines.
When it comes to cooking comfort food like this Lentil, Leek, and Mirliton Soup, the whole thing should be, well, comfortable. And this easy Cajun recipe has little prep with a no-fuss process. But make no mistake, although this soup is short on steps, it is long on flavor. Ladle a bowlful of this Lentil, Leek, and Mirliton Soup and treat yourself to a lazy, laid-back dinner.
You deserve it.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped leeks
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1½ cups roughly chopped mirliton squash
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup diced smoked ham
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- 1 (1-pound) package lentils, such as Camellia
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pot with a lid over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the onion, leeks, celery, and squash, and cook until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and ham, and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
- Pour in the stock and add the lentils. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve in bowls with hot French bread.
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