HAM AND LENTIL SOUP

If possible, make this soup at least one day in advance of eating, as you will find the flavours and textures improve upon standing.

Serves 8-10

1 large meaty ham bone or bacon hock

2 medium onions, peeled and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and finely diced

2 sticks celery, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 cup whole grain rye, wheat, dinkel (spelt) or barley

1 cup NZ Puy lentils

2 bay leaves

2 litres chicken stock or water
150g kale, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated or crumbled 

1. Place ham bone or bacon hock, vegetables, whole grains and lentils in a large soup pot (or crock pot). Add bay leaves and stock or water. 

2. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours (6-8 hours in a crock pot) or until meat is falling off the bone and grains and lentils are tender. 

3. Remove meat from bones, return shredded meat to the pot; discard bones, skin and fat. Add kale to the soup to wilt. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. 

4. Serve piping hot in bowls, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and scattered with parmesan.