BERNATH FAmily's Lentil vegetable soup (with dark beer)
1 pound French green lentils
1 smoked ham hock
4 cups chopped onion (3 large onions)
4 cups chopped leeks (2 leeks, white and green parts, wash well)
3 cloves minced garlic
3 bay leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs kosher salt (if using regular salt, use less)
1 ½ tsp pepper
1 small bunch thyme stalks
2 tsp ground cumin
3 cups med-diced celery (8 stalks)
3 cups med-diced carrots (4 – 6 carrots)
3 quarts chicken stock
3 tbs tomato paste
2 bottles dark beer
In large bowl, cover lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.
In a heavy pot (Le Creuset), sauté ham hock, onion, leeks, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and cumin in olive oil on medium heat for 20 minutes, until veggies are translucent and tender.
Add celery and carrots and sauté for 10 more minutes.
Add beer, chicken stock, tomato paste and drained lentils.
Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for about 90 minutes.
If you need to add more liquid, you can add water.
Check the seasonings.
Served with some of the ham hock cut up on top of the soup.
Also sprinkle some fresh thyme leaves and parmesan shavings on top.