What’s a daisy ham? That’s what I’ve been wondering since I picked it up at the grocery last week. I was looking for maybe a picnic ham or even smoked ham hocks to cook with lentils and I saw this smoked ham called a daisy ham. I had to Google it and it turns out to be very well-known, but it just missed my radar all these years. It’s simply a smoked pork butt—I know, you think I cook almost nothing but pork butt. Seems like a good idea, making a smoked ham out of the pork butt, which is a terrifically tasty cut of pork. I read that some people called it tenderloin at home, so I’m expecting that it will be a good addition to lentils, even though it is more meat than I was originally planning to use. My husband won’t complain and neither will I.
I’m calling it a soup, but secretly hoping that it is thick enough to fool my husband, who does not think that anything resembling soup qualifies as a complete meal. Sometimes he’s wary of food that has to be eaten in a bowl, just in case I might be trying to sneak in soup as the main course. As it turned out, I would feel comfortable calling this a stew.
As the title indicates, this recipe comes from my uncle. I vaguely remember copying it down from his recipe and still have it in one of my recipe notebooks. I can tell from my handwriting that I couldn’t have been much older than my early twenties and maybe even younger. You can tell from the condition of the recipe that it has been used. I’m not sure what the occasion was of him sharing it, but I kind of remember him being pretty happy about how it tasted and how easy it was to make. It never really occurred to me that he did much cooking of his own, but what did I know.
I have pretty much followed this recipe, with the exception that the daisy ham makes so much meat that it is more like a stew (you know who will be happy about that), and I added some diced potatoes for even more texture.
I would also add that because lentils cook so quickly and do not need to be soaked like other dried beans, you could make this dish on the stove top and skip the slow cooker, although I see that my uncle did soak the lentils. Using the slow cooker is great if you’re cooking while at work or out of the house, but not necessary for this dish. I will be doing a lot less slow cooker cooking as I found a crack in the crock yesterday, but I never used it that much to begin with; a few recipes have just shown up here in a cluster lately. I’ll be cooking on the stove or in the oven until I get a replacement crock.
Uncle Earl's Lentil Soup with a Daisy Ham
Prepare vegetables and place in slow cooker with lentils, seasonings, and 8 cups water. Place meat in pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Unless you are away for the day, you might find that the lentils are done long before 6 hours is up. If your slow cooker has a timer that switches to warm when it’s done, I might set it for 4-5 hours and let it warm until time to eat.
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery with leaves, finely diced
2 carrots, diced
2 small cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in large dice
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb lentils
8 cups water
1 2-3 lb daisy ham or ham product of your choice
When done, remove the ham and shred with two forks. Return to cooker and toss with the bean mixture or place all in another large serving dish. Now that I know what a daisy ham is, I’ll be keeping an eye open for it and thinking of other ways to use it.
The next day, I made this flat bread to eat with the dish: Syrian Onion Bread
I topped mine with cumin and marjoram and kosher salt, and I substituted 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for part of the white flour. Mine aren’t as pretty as the original, but good to eat.