ham and lentil soup

Easy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

This hearty ham and lentil soup is just the thing for a chilly winter day.  It’s adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I’ve naturally cut down the servings (from 8 to 4) and made a few other minor changes.  It’s pretty easy to prepare, and only requires a single pot. And you know how I hate cleanup! Funny, I enjoy the cooking part, but not the mess afterwards.

Since even four servings means a lot of soup for one, let the soup cool, and then divide it up into smaller containers and freeze it.  That way, a week or two from now, all you have to do is defrost an individual serving. Add a salad, a chunk of bread, or some cut up fruit and you have a quick meal. And once you’ve made the soup, there are no more pots to clean up.

The original recipe called for bacon, but having none, I used some kielbasa and a ham hock instead.  The kielbasa and ham hock get cooked along with the soup, which I think adds more flavor.

Also, the cookbook was written before the age of stick blenders.  So it instructed you to use a food processor or a food mill to puree the soup. Too much work! And too much mess. The immersion blender makes all that much easier, faster, and a lot less work to clean up.

Ham and Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Small Batch Soup Recipes

Cuisine: American

4 portions

ham and lentil soup


  • 1 T cooking oil*
  • 4 inch piece kielbasa, cut in coin size slices (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 3/4 C chicken stock
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 small bay leaf**
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 T (a bit over 1/3 C) brown lentils
  • salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a 3 quart pot.
  2. Add the kielbasa, and brown for a few minutes.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and ham hock, cover the pot, and cook on low for about 25 minutes, until the veggies are soft.
  4. Pour in the stock, add the thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and the lentils.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are soft and cooked through.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and the ham hock.
  7. Separate the meat from the ham hock bone and return to the pot. Discard the bone.
  8. Use a stick blender to partly puree the soup (you want a half and half mixture of whole and blended lentils.
  9. Taste the soup, and add salt or pepper if needed.


*I used kielbasa that was a mixture of turkey, pork, and beef. If you use pork kielbasa you won't need the oil.

**Put the bay leaf in a tea ball for easier removal.

Ham and Lentil Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use bacon instead of the kielbasa and ham hock; cook that first, then remove it and set aside, when the soup is finished, crumble the bacon on top
  • Use crumbled pork sausage, or some diced ham instead of the kielbasa and ham hock
  • Add a cup of diced tomatoes
  • Chop up a scallion and add that to the soup

Tools for Making Your Soup

Cusinart Stick Blender

I have an older version of this, and it is still going strong after years and years of use.  It’s great for milkshakes, pureeing soup, and making smoothies.  And it’s much easier to clean than my big blender. In fact, I hardly ever use the blender anymore.  Instead of cleaning a large appliance, all you have to do is pop off the shaft and wash that. Then wipe the top with a damp sponge. Unlike mine, this newer version is cordless, so it’s a lot easier to maneuver, particularly in a small space (like my kitchen). It also comes with a whisk attachment.

Chantal Soup Pot

I had no idea how much I needed a pot like this until I got one as a gift. The soup pot I got with my cookware set is far too large, and I hardly use it.  This one is great for small batches of soup, chili, even popcorn. The glass lid makes it easy to see when the corn starts to pop. And it’s a lot easier to handle than a full size soup pot (or a cast iron Dutch oven).

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