Lentil Soup: New Year’s Day Tradition, Father’s Day Favorite

Eating lentil soup on New Year’s Day has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.  My mother would prepare a big batch in the morning and keep it warm on top of the stove. The rest of us would snack on it all day long, hoping it will bring us good luck in the upcoming year.  I remember my mother explaining how the dish symbolizes prosperity. A serving of these little bronze-colored legumes resemble a bowl full of miniature coins.  

The earliest documented reference to lentil soup consumption in my family can be traced back to 1972. As an aspiring man of letters in the fourth grade, I penned a tribute to my father for Father’s Day. Among his noble attributes and benevolent ways, I cited his affinity for this dish.

Forty one years later, I am happy to report my father still likes lentil soup, and so do I. 

WVM FD Card 1972

Smoked Turkey Lentil Soup

This is one of the easiest dishes I know how to make. It only takes about 15 minutes of prep time and then about an hour of simmering in the pot. I used to make it with ham hocks, but found smoked turkey wings to be a better choice. They add just as much flavor to the dish but are much leaner and meatier. The smoked turkey parts will add a substantial amount of salt to this dish. Make sure you taste it before adding additional seasonings.

Lentil Soup 1

Ingredients –

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable Oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1, 16-ounce bag of dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 8 cups of chicken stock
  • 1, smoked turkey wing or drumstick (the wing should be cut at the joints into three pieces)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a pot large enough to accommodate the lentils and turkey parts.

Add onion, sauté until translucent.

Add carrot and celery, sauté until tender but still crisp.

Add lentils. Stir until evenly coated with oil.

Add turkey parts, chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme, bring to a moderate simmer over low heat.

Skim off any impurities or froth that floats to the top. Discard impurities.

Continue to simmer for one hour.

Remove turkey parts and bay leaves from pot. Allow to cool.

Using an immersion blender, pulse lentils 3 or 4 times, being careful not to over process the soup base.

Note: The goal is to puree a just enough lentils to create a thick stock. The majority of lentils should still retain their shape.

Remove turkey meat from the bone. Cut meat in to medium dice. Discard bones.

Add turkey meat back into pot. Stir to combine. Return soup to a simmer.

Taste soup. Add salt and pepper as needed.


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Categories: Recipes, Soups


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5 Comments on “Lentil Soup: New Year’s Day Tradition, Father’s Day Favorite”

  1. January 28, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    What a sweet tribute to your father:-) And I love your gravatar host character drawing–nice. Am a lentil soup fan, for sure, but don’t often see meat in it. Your version looks good! Wanted to say “thanks” for stopping by foodforfun’s (spendy) ice cream post. I look forward to making your soup.

    • January 28, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      Thanks Liz! We appreciate your kind words. Actually are gravatar pictures are made from food. There are children plates available called Mr. and Mrs. Food Face. They each contain a generic image of a man and women’s face. Children use the food that is served to them to make unique characters. My toque in the chef image is made from a fennel bulb. Janine’s hair is made from whole wheat pasta. It seemed like an appropriate way for us to portray ourselves.

      Anyway, We enjoyed perusing your blog and look forward to reading your future posts.

      Chris & Janine

      • January 28, 2013 at 9:09 am #

        🙂 Love it!

  2. Janet Rörschåch
    January 30, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    I adore the drawings linking to the family memory. LOVE IT! Makes me very happy. Sometimes I think the best food is related to an ancient memory.

    • February 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      We couldn’t agree more! Ruth Reichl, the former Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine once said; “It’s not the food that is important. It’s the memory behind the food”

      Thank you so much for visiting our blog. We appreciate it.

      Chris & Janine

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