Ham and Lentil Soup

There is something wonderful about holiday left overs. Turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving, pie for breakfast after Christmas dinner, and Ham after Easter. My husband loves a good spiral ham. We pick one up a few times a year, including this past New Years Eve. However, a spiral ham goes a lot further than I remembered. I started wondering how we were going to ever finish it. After breakfast casserole, quiche, and plenty of ham on salads, we turned to our trusty crockpot. Here is the recipe we came up with, adapted from our favorite chicken and lentil soup recipe.

2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 small onion or a handful of shallots diced
2 cloves garlic, whole (for flavor, not for biting into)
1 cup dried lentils
1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground or dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups bone or chicken broth
1 cup water (for a total of 5 cups of liquid, if you have less broth on hand, add more water)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Note: you do not have to salt this dish before cooking. There is plenty of salt from the ham. You can add salt to taste upon serving.

Layer the ingredients in the crockpot following the order they are listed. Cook on low for 10 hours, or high for 6 if you need to speed things up. Each crockpot is different, so check about half way through cooking time. Once the vegetables and lentils are soft, you can serve. The longer this cooks, the thicker the soup becomes. Discard garlic and bay leaf before serving. Enjoy!

Alternative serving option:
Once this is finished cooking, refrigerate over night and serve on sandwich rolls like sloppy joes the next day. The lentils will continue to absorb the cooking liquid, making this the perfect consistency.

If you have favorite recipes for leftover ham, leave the link in the comments. 
I am always looking to try new recipes.

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