I used to make this - vegetarian style. But now that we are recovering vegetarians, Ryan has begun making the yummy yummy meaty version. Although we aren't full fledged carnivores yet, we enjoy the occasional local meat. Kowalskis offers a great selection of local meats, albeit expensive. But one item that is low cost and extremely flavorful is the smoked pork shank - $4.00 and we have flavor for a HUGE pot of lentil soup. The celery and lentils and pork cooking together fill the house with warmth that is well needed in mid January in Minnesota. The aroma makes me feel cozy.
Smoked ham pork shank
salt and pepper
What to do with it all:
fry up the bacon in the bottom of a soup pot.
Set aside. Fry up the onions in the bacon grease. Add the carrots and celery and chopped pork shank and saute for a bit. Add boiling water and the lentils. simmer until the lentils are aldente. Chop up the bacon and throw it on in. If you want tomatoes - add a couple cans of stewed tomatoes at this point, I just add them and cut them with the soup spoon. Ryan is much more prepared and drains the tomatoes (adds liquid to the soup) and dices the tomatoes before adding them. Oh, and make sure to add s and p all the way through. This soup freezes very well.
Enjoy with a drop of red hot, sour cream, or whatever else you like. Can you smell it? It's Fabulous!