Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup

Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup

A day for family…

February 18, 2019 marks Family Day in my province of Alberta, Canada.  A holiday to promote family values and spending time together as a family.  Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup is perfect for your family day weekend.  Super easy to toss together in your slow cooker, and forget about until dinner time. Giving you the whole day to spend with your family without having to worry about dinner until the last few touches are required, which is hours later.

Dinner is ready…

With just a couple of last minute touches to the soup, the whole family can enjoy a hearty and satisfying soup made from scratch.  It’s a wonderful bowlful to warm everyone up from a day of outdoor activities even if it’s not a holiday.  The recipe makes about 10 cups and freezes well too.

To ham or not to ham…

I love the subtle smokiness a ham bone can bring to soup and I just happen to have a ham bone leftover from the holidays. If a ham bone isn’t available to you, a smoked pork hock works just as well and they’re readily available all year.   I also like the texture and flavour of meaty little bites of ham throughout the soup too, so I’ll definitely ham it up when I can. But don’t fret, this is a lovely vegan soup without the ham if that is your preference.  The dill and vinegar in the recipe add a little brightness to the soup and helps to cut the starchiness of the lentils.  It’s so, so good.

Now, about the lentil…

I could rattle on and on about the lentil, but the lentils website is very informative about the varieties, nutrition and cooking of the lentil.  It’s a good read with lots of information.  

Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    10 cups 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    7 hours
    Servings Prep Time
    10 cups 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    7 hours
    Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      10 cups 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      7 hours
      Servings Prep Time
      10 cups 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      7 hours
      Ingredients
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      1. Rinse and drain lentils. Add lentils along with onion, celery, carrots, cabbage, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, thyme to your slow cooker.
      2. Cut excess ham away from bone and save for later.
      3. Add ham bone and 7 cups of broth to slow cooker. Stir to combine, cover and cook on low for about 7 hours, stirring once or twice.
      4. While soup is cooking, coursely chop or shred ham. Cover and refrigerate until soup is ready.
      5. Remove ham bone and bay leaf from soup. Adjust consistency with the additional cup of broth. Stir in chopped ham and white vinegar. Cover and allow to cook for 5-10 more minutes to warm ham. Add a generous sprinkle of fresh dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and more fresh dill.
      Recipe Notes
      • a smoked pork hock will work in place of a meaty ham bone.
      • for a vegetarian/vegan option, use vegetable broth and omit the ham and sour cream.

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      Cranberry Pork Rib Roast

      Cranberry Pork Rib Roast

      Move over turkey, there’s another succulent, juicy, easy to carve meat in town.  Cranberry Pork Rib Roast is an excellent way to entertain and impress this holiday season.  Flavoured with rosemary, mustard and garlic, it roasts up beautifully in a couple of hours.  Served with a cranberry apple sauce gives it a wonderfully delicious holiday flare that’s sure to impress.

      I love pork rib roasts for the bones.  They provide a little extra fat and flavour, plus, they help to keep the roast moist throughout the roasting process.  This stunning pork rib roast is just as much a showpiece as your golden turkey, it’s easy to carve and perfect for 6-10 people, depending on size and how you slice it.  Pork and apples are a natural pairing, which makes the cranberry apple sauce the perfect accompaniment to this lovely roast.  Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Cranberry Pork Rib Roast:  Compelled To Cook

      Cranberry Pork Rib Roast
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        6-10 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        120 minutes 20-30 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        6-10 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        120 minutes 20-30 minutes
        Cranberry Pork Rib Roast
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          6-10 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          120 minutes 20-30 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          6-10 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          120 minutes 20-30 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          Pork Rib Roast
          1. Preheat oven to 475℉. Pat roast dry with a paper towel and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth and rub evenly onto the roast. Place roast on a large baking tray or shallow roasting pan fat side up. Cook for 15 minutes in preheated oven then reduce temperature to 350℉. Continue to roast for 90-120 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 145℉. The meat will continue to rise about 10℉ as it rests.
          2. Remove roast from oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes before carving. For larger appetites, you can carve the roast into chops between the bones and serve. Alternatively, you can carve off the bones from the center loin, allowing you to slice the loin to your desired thickness. Cut the ribs between the bones and serve along side.
          Cranberry Apple Sauce
          1. Heat oil in a small saucepan and sauté shallots for 1-2 minutes until starting to soften. Add cranberries, apple, 1/2 cup water, white wine, brown sugar, rosemary and ginger. Allow to simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the cranberries are soft and the apples are tender. This will take about 20 minutes and most of the excess moisture will be evaporated.
          2. Stir in jellied cranberry, cinnamon and salt, allowing the jellied cranberry to melt into the sauce. Adjust consistency with a tablespoon or two of water if necessary. The sauce can be made ahead and warmed gently for serving. Makes 1 3/4 cups of sauce.

          Baked Apricot Mustard Ham

          Baked Apricot Mustard Ham

          Looking to feed a crowd of hungry relatives and friends this Easter? Baked Apricot Mustard Ham will not only feed the small army you call family, it will also slice out enough ham for leftovers along with a ham bone for soup. The meal that keeps on giving, in an oooh so tasty and simple way. The herby mustard rub is my standard go to paste to rub on most everything but this time with the addition of apricot jam. The jam helps to glaze the ham and cut the salt with a touch of sweetness. You’ll also love, love, love the fresh herbs, especially the rosemary, which is such a wonderful pairing with ham.

          Aside from the ham, which I could chatter on about, this post also warms my heart for another reason. It’s the kind gesture and thoughtfulness from a wonderful friend who gave me the opportunity to use a family treasure in my post. The silver and stainless steel carving set used in the pictures belonged to my friend’s Grandmother on his father’s side.

          There are actually 3 pieces to the set although I only used two in my pictures. The set includes a fork, knife and sharpening steel, which looks much different from what we see today. All pieces are stamped with WM Rogers and Son, who was a well know silversmith and pioneer in the silver plate industry. They’re tarnished like heck and the knife is uneven from use or sharpening, but this vintage set is prop gold and absolutely beautiful in my photos. Thank you Mike for thinking of me, Happy Easter.

          Recipe source for Baked Apricot Mustard Ham:  Compelled To Cook

          You may also like Braised Lamb Shoulder for your Easter gathering.

          Baked Apricot Mustard Ham
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            12-15 people 20 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            3 hours 15 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            12-15 people 20 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            3 hours 15 minutes
            Baked Apricot Mustard Ham
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              12-15 people 20 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              3 hours 15 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              12-15 people 20 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              3 hours 15 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 325℉. Remove ham from packaging and dab dry with a paper towel. Score ham by cutting just through the skin in diagonal lines about 1" apart. Repeat diagonal line in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern.
              2. In a small bowl whisk together mustard, half the apricot jam, chopped fresh herbs, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
              3. Lay ham face down in roasting pan and scatter a handful of fresh herbs around the ham. Smear half of the mustard rub evenly over ham. Add 3/4 cup water to the pan and cover tightly with foil.
              4. Bake for approximately 2-2 1/2 hours until warmed through and an internal temperature of 135℉ is reached. Increase oven temperature to 400℉ and strain liquid from pan. Rub ham with remaining mustard rub and continue to bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until golden and browned and the internal temperature is 145℉. Remove from oven and recover with foil and allow to rest 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
              5. While ham is resting, reduce liquid from pan by 1/3. Whisk in 1/4-1/3 cup apricot jam to taste and serve along side the ham.

              Mushroom Bacon Risotto

              Mushroom Bacon Risotto

              Truthfully, I don’t make a lot of risotto, so when a friend recently made me a delicious bacon risotto, I remembered what all the fuss is about. Mushroom Bacon Risotto is a splendid variation, loaded with flavour, creamy and luscious.

              With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Mushroom Bacon Risotto is a lovely dish to share with your sweetheart. Indulgent with bacon and cheese, bright with a splash of wine and earthy with garlic and mushrooms. Tastes wickedly good without being too heavy and perfect with steamed asparagus and a glass of wine. Simple and elegant!

              It’s not the quickest risotto, having to sauté the bacon and mushrooms first, but the combination is fantastic and worth the extra effort. I like to add the cooked bacon and mushrooms at the end, that way they retain their texture, especially the bacon. For me, it’s best with a little bit of crispiness and chew, giving the risotto some texture. The bacon also adds salt, so I find low sodium broth is best in this case, seasoning accordingly at the end. So come and find out what the fuss is all about with Mushroom Bacon Risotto!

              Recipe source for Mushroom Bacon Risotto:  Compelled To Cook

               

              Mushroom Bacon Risotto
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                3 people 10 minutes
                Cook Time
                43-45 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                3 people 10 minutes
                Cook Time
                43-45 minutes
                Mushroom Bacon Risotto
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  3 people 10 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  43-45 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  3 people 10 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  43-45 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: people
                  Instructions
                  1. In a large skillet fry bacon over medium heat until crisp tender and most of the fat has rendered. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and reserve fat. Once bacon has cooled enough to handle, coarsely chop.
                  2. Using same skillet, increase heat to medium high and add 1 tbsp of bacon fat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until starting to brown and moisture has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
                  3. In same skillet over medium heat add 1 tbsp of bacon fat and chopped shallot and sauté until starting to soften but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
                  4. Stir in rice and continue to sauté and stir until rice is coated, about 1 minute. Add wine, stirring to combine and scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Allow to be mostly absorbed, about 1 minute.
                  5. Adjust temperature to medium and add 1/2 cup of broth, stirring to combine and allowing broth to absorb. Continue adding broth by the 1/2 cup, allowing each portion to be mostly absorbed before adding more, stirring often.
                  6. When down to the last cup of broth, test for texture and add more broth if desired, saving 1/4 cup for finishing. When the rice is al dente and the last addition of broth has been absorbed, stir in mushrooms and bacon. Add remaining 1/4 cup of broth, parmesan cheese, butter and parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
                  Recipe Notes

                  Makes approximately 4 1/2 cups of risotto, enough for 3 main dish servings or 6 side dish servings.

                  Smoky Apple Ribs

                  Smoky Apple Ribs

                  So for those of you who know me or those that have read a few of my posts know that one of my biggest frustrations with cooking in general is finding ingredients in my small community. I’m not talking about off the wall items here either! Today’s annoyance AND joy doesn’t come from what I can’t find, but what I can. I’m hard pressed to find fresh bean sprouts in this town, but have no problem plucking a Gravenstein apple white balsamic vinegar off the shelf. So while the whole situation has me rolling my eyes, I delight in my newly acquired treasure.  One that gives way to spectacular Smoky Apple Ribs.

                  Sweet, tart and fruity, the Gravenstein apply balsamic vinegar makes for an amazing smoky bbq sauce. It’s even better when you slather that sauce on meaty pork ribs. Juicy, fall off the bone pork ribs, sticky with smoky sauce that has a mild, yet distinctive apple undertone is what little treasures become. Enjoy!

                  Recipe inspired by Evoolution’s Apple BBQ Sauce

                   

                  Smoky Apple Ribs
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    4 people 20 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    3 hours
                    Servings Prep Time
                    4 people 20 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    3 hours
                    Smoky Apple Ribs
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      4 people 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      3 hours
                      Servings Prep Time
                      4 people 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      3 hours
                      Instructions
                      Ribs
                      1. Preheat oven to 275℉. In a small bowl whisk together sugar and spices. Remove the thin membrane on the back side of ribs if not already done by butcher. Liberally coat the rib rack on all sides with spice rub.
                      2. Wrap ribs tightly in aluminum foil with meat side up. Place on large baking tray and bake for approximately 3 hours until meat is tender. Make sauce while ribs are cooking.
                      3. Preheat oven to broil and position rack to 6-8" from broiler. Remove ribs from foil and place back on baking tray lined with fresh foil. Brush liberally with sauce on both sides and broil for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from oven and cut between bones. Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side.
                      Sauce
                      1. Whisk together all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a full simmer. Reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be reduced slightly and flavours melded. Yielding approximately 2 cups of sauce.
                      Recipe Notes

                      I had approximately 1/2 cup of sauce left over without serving any on the side. Can freeze for another use.  Also great with grilled pork tenderloin.

                      Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets

                      Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets

                      Although I am pretty new to the world of dukkah, the thought of a crunchy roasted nut mixture blended with spice and herbs is certainly worth my attention. Dukkah is an Egyptian blend of crushed roasted nuts, spice and sometimes herbs and is most often eaten with bread dunked in olive oil. It didn’t take long for my mind to wander over to the meat section though, and imagine crunchy Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets. Quite addictive with their crunchy nutty coating and particularly delicious with a curried mayonnaise.

                      Easy to put together for a weeknight meal, especially if the dukkah is made up in advance.  I chose to do a cutlet rather than a thicker cut of meat as the nuts tend to burn easily.  The cutlets cook quickly so the nuts are less likely to burn, plus there’s a great ratio of crunchy coating to meat.  I used a handful of panko breadcrumbs in the coating even though they are not normally found in traditional dukkah.  The addition of a small amount of breadcrumbs to the nut mixture really helps the coating adhere to the cutlet.  Resist the urge to crank the heat when pan frying these, the nuts will burn before you know it.  Medium low heat is what you’re after.  They’ll appear not to be cooking at all, but after a few minutes the nuts will start to turn a lovely burnished gold and the pork will just be starting to cook around the edges.  Flip, and a few minutes later they’re ready for the table.

                      Feel free to experiment with your dukkah, using different nuts and/or spices.  The ones used in Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets are commonly used but my own variation of sorts.  I really enjoyed the mint in the dukkah coating and the fresh mint in the curried mayonnaise as it was fresh, bright and a great match for the cutlets.  Enjoy!

                      Recipe Source:  Compelled To Cook

                       

                      Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets
                      Print Recipe
                      Tender pork with a crunchy exterior and loads of flavour.
                        Servings
                        4-5 people
                        Servings
                        4-5 people
                        Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets
                        Print Recipe
                        Tender pork with a crunchy exterior and loads of flavour.
                          Servings
                          4-5 people
                          Servings
                          4-5 people
                          Ingredients
                          Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets
                          Yogurt Mint Sauce
                          Servings: people
                          Instructions
                          Yogurt Mint Sauce
                          1. In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients and allow to rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to blend flavours.
                          Dukkah Crusted Pork Cutlets
                          1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Roast pine nuts and cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, turning half way through. Allow to cool completely before proceeding.
                          2. Once nuts are cool pulse in a food processor until broken down to small bits. Be careful not to over process or nuts will turn to a paste. Add sesame seeds, panko and remaining spices. Pulse 2-3 times to combine. Set aside.
                          3. Cut pork tenderloin into 1/2" thick slices. Using a meat mallet, pound each slice between pieces of plastic wrap into a cutlet no more than 1/4" thick. Season both sides of cutlets with salt and pepper.
                          4. Whisk eggs together in a shallow bowl and place dukkah in a separate shallow bowl. Dunk one cutlet into egg bath and then into dukkah mixture, pressing slightly to coat both sides. Arrange pre coated cutlets on a parchment lined baking sheet. When all cutlets are coated, heat 1 tbsp canola oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add 4-5 cutlets to the pan cooking approximately 4 minutes per side, adjusting heat lower if necessary as the nuts burn easily. Remove cooked cutlets from pan and wipe out any stray bits with a paper towel. Repeat with more oil and cutlets. Keep cooked cutlets warm in a low oven. Serve immediately with Yogurt Mint Sauce.
                          Recipe Notes

                          Resist the urge to turn up the heat when cooking the cutlets.  The nuts will burn very easily!  A low-medium temperature is best even though the cutlets will not sizzle when you put them in the pan.  After a few minutes the nuts will turn golden and they are ready to flip.