Creamed spinach and ham lentil soup recipe

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Of all the lentil varieties available these days, French green lentils are undeniably my favorite. Here they get a little flavor help from smoked ham. Exotic spices like allspice and nutmeg give it Moroccan warmth, which is welcome on a chilly day. Be judicious with salt, adding it only near the end, as the ham contains a good amount of it.

  • Yield: 10 Servings


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-¼ pound (565 g) cooked smoked ham steak, cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice, divided
  • 1-½ teaspoons ground nutmeg, divided
  • 1 large leek, white and pale-green parts only, cut into medium dice
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into medium dice
  • 1 shallot, cut into medium dice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 cups (400 g) dried French green lentils
  • 6 cups (1,400 ml) low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups (475 ml) water, as needed
  • 2 cups (310) thawed frozen chopped spinach
  • ½ cup (120 ml) half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
How to Make It
  1. Melt the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the ham and stir to coat. Add 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon allspice, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Increase heat to high. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring until the ham starts giving off its juices and begins to turn a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the ham from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add remaining butter to the same cooking pot and melt over medium heat. Add the leek, garlic, celery, and shallot. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Add the wine, cooking over high heat, and reduce to a glaze. Add the lentils, stock, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high, reduce to a simmer over medium low, and cook for 40 minutes, uncovered, until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Add additional water as needed. You’re looking for a soup-like consistency.
  3. Remove bay leaves and discard. Add the spinach and simmer, stirring until wilted and heated through, about 10 minutes. Mash with an immersion blender (Basic Mashing Tools) until the soup is chunky smooth but most lentils still retain their shape. Return the ham to the pot and heat over medium. Finish with the half-and-half and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Leftovers will store well refrigerated for a few days, but may continue absorbing liquid. Add more liquid as needed when reheating.

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