Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup

Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup
Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup

Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup is a ‘belter’, as Yotam Ottolenghi says of his recipe, and we couldn’t agree more. It’s meaty, tomatoey, spicy with chilli, and smoked paprika, and oh so nourishing.

Soup is such a comforting meal to make and nothing makes us happier than having a freezer full of different soups to grab from the freezer, then heat up a crusty sourdough bread roll, again from the freezer and life is sweet and easy.

ingredients for Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup

Yotam Ottolenghi

We love Yotam’s recipes. If you don’t know of him you’re about to discover a chef whose new recipe mantra is “minimum hassle, maximum joy”. The old jokes about Yotam’s recipes such as “I’m just popping out to the shops to pick up some milk, the papers , black garlic, rose harissa and sumac”, are put to bed with this recipe.

He has a real talent for marrying ingredients and creating delicious recipes drawn from his extensive travels, and genuine curiosity for world cuisines. He has single handedly brought Middle Eastern food into the mainstream.

His recipes generally require a long list of ingredients, some obscure, but that’s the great thing about his recipes. He introduces new ingredients that are definitely not mainstream, into our kitchens. It’s called ‘the Ottolenghi effect’ and we love it.

Yotam finished his Masters in Comparative Literature degree in 1997 when he apparently sheepishly told his parents he wanted to move to London to become a chef.

He now runs four deli’s in London, famous for their display of colourful salads and huge tiered trays of cakes and desserts. He also has two restaurants in London, Nopi and Rovi, and also writes a weekly column for The Guardian which is where we discovered this delicious recipe.

Add to that his six best-selling cookbooks, and no wonder he is popular, and deserves to have his recipes across the internet. Are you a fan?

carrot onion and garlic cooked until softened to make Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup
cook carrots and onions until softened

simple ingredients

For Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup you will most likely have everything already in your kitchen, and won’t need any fancy ingredients to knock it out of the park with this delicious soup. It’s comforting, and perfect to make when the weather turns all grey and bleak. We did however, have to pop out for the allspice.

smoked ham hocks

Smoked ham hock bring serious flavour and succulent meat to this soup. When cooked the meat is fork tender, smoky, sweet, salty and rich. Hocks need long slow cooking in a liquid environment for the collagen, which makes the meat rich and silky, and fat to slowly dissolve, adding fabulous flavour.

Smoked ham hocks freeze very well and the best thing is they can be cooked from frozen without defrosting first. They will just take a little longer to cook, so it really pays to have a hock, or two in your freezer to cook up a warming soup.

While ham hocks may not be pretty, what they lack in the beauty department they more than make up for in the flavour department.

red lentils

Red lentils are packed with protein, iron, fibre and B vitamins. They are by far the quickest of the lentil family to cook and need no pre-soaking.

We’re always cheered by the fresh brightness of the orange lentils on a drab, and cold day.

ingredients to make Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup in a white pot with a wooden spoon in the pot
red lentil make the soup thick and hearty

canned tomatoes

We have no affiliation with Mutti brand tomatoes but love them as they’re 99.8% Italian tomatoes with salt and GMO free. If you check other brands they are usually only 60% tomato, and the rest is water or juice. Check them out.

Watch How To Make Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup

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Scroll down below for the Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup recipe.

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What’s your go-to soup when the weather cools down? We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make our Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup.

Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup
Yield: 6 large serves

Smoked Ham Hock and Red Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

This is a seriously ballsy, warming and delicious soup. It's nourishing and comforting and best of all you probably have most ingredients in your kitchen.

It freezes well ,and you can use smoked ham hocks straight from the freezer. We like!


  • 1 large smoked ham hock weighing around 1.4kg (3 pounds)
  • 2 large carrots, 1 quartered for cooking the hock, and the other diced for the soup
  • 2 large onions, 1 quartered for cooking the hock, and the other diced for the soup
  • 3 sticks of celery, sliced for cooking the hock
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red chillies finely chopped - remove the seeds if you don't like it too spicy
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 x 400g (14 ounce) tin of diced tomatoes
  • 350g (12 ounces) red lentils
  • 1 large cinnamon quill
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 strips orange peel - use a vegetable peeler so you don't get any white pith
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt - taste the stock as some hocks can be very salty
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

parsley salsa

  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 packed cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt


  • put hock in a large pot with the quartered carrot and onion, celery, allspice and peppercorns
  • cover with cold water and bring to a boil
  • using a spoon or strainer, remove the scum from the top of the soup
  • reduce temperature to a simmer and top up with water as hock cooks
  • transfer cooked hock to a chopping board when it is literally falling off the bone - depending on the size this could take 2-3 hours
  • remove fat and bone and slice meat into bite sized pieces
  • strain stock and discard vegetables and aromatics
  • in a clean heavy based saucepan add oil, diced onion, carrot and chilli
  • stir over medium-high heat until onion and carrot have softened (about 6-8 minutes)
  • add garlic and stir for a minute or two
  • add tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, lentils, smoked paprika, cinnamon, orange skin and juice, 2 1/4 litres ( 4 3/4 pints or 9 1/2 cups) of stock, salt (depending on how salty the stock is after cooking the hock) and freshly ground pepper and give it a good stir
  • bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and leave to bubble away for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft
  • stir with a wooden spoon every so often to make sure the lentils aren't sticking to the bottom of the pan
  • meanwhile make salsa
  • add smoked ham into the finished soup and heat through for 5 minutes
  • ladle into bowls and top with the parsley salsa
  • enjoy!

parsley salsa

  • heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat till hot
  • add caraway seeds and fry till the seeds sizzle and splutter (about a minute)
  • pour oil and caraway over parsley and add salt
  • mix together 



  • soup freezes well

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

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