Soup doesn’t cover it. This is a hearty bowl of deliciousness to warm your winter.
Humble bowl food found itself basking in the spotlight last year, when Harry and Meghan announced to a surprisingly shocked nation that they wouldn’t be serving their guests the usual plated fare at the wedding breakfast. Instead, they were opting for food served – gasp – fashionably concave.
The furore that followed would imply that journalists were either desperate to write about any conceivable aspect of the wedding of the year or that Middle England isn’t up to date on its Instagram trends. Or possibly both.
I’ve never been to a royal wedding so I’m assuming they usually serve gold-plated swan. That’s the only explanation for the level of chatter about Harry and Meghan’s shocking modernity.
Ever since the Big Day, I’ve haughtily told the kids that their supper isn’t Weetabix – it’s BOWL FOOD. But they just give me that look and go back to You Tube.
So I finally got round to upping my game and creating something that can actually be graced with the now-royal appellation.
This hearty ham soup is so much more than a soup. A bowlful of flavour, health and filling goodness, it brings together ham (obviously), onions, carrots, pearl barley, lentils and potatoes for a healthy meal that won’t feel like a dull penance. This is the food that will get you through January on track.
Hearty Ham Soup
Serves 4 • Ready in 1 hour
1 tsp olive oil (27 cals)
1 large onion, peeled and diced (86 cals)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (70 cals)
50g (1¾oz) pearl barley, rinsed (180 cals)
1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock, fresh or made with 2 stock cubes (70 cals)
50g (1¾oz) Puy (French green) lentils, rinsed (148 cals)
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into small dice (169 cals)
250g (9oz) cooked ham, shredded (268 cals)
1 small handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped (3 cals)
• Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan or casserole over a low heat. Add the onion and carrots and fry very gently for 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir the pearl barley into the pan and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
• Add the lentils and diced potato, top up with 1 litre (4 cups) water and cook for a further 30 minutes.
• Add the shredded ham to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley just before serving.