According to Hungarian tradition, this New Year’s Lentil Soup will bring good luck and prosperity to all those who have it on New Year’s Day. It’s all due to the shape of the lentils, reminiscent of coins, hence wealth and prosperity.


New Year's Lentil Soup

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Hungarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Degree of Difficulty : Moderately Difficult
Servings: 4 people
Tip : You can substitue canned lentils for the dry lentils. If you do substitute, then the canned lentils should be added to the soup after the vegetables have cooked.


  • 1 smoked ham bone or smoked ham hock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion finely diced
  • 1 large carot peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 1 tspn Hungarian paprika
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup dry green lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked and shredded ham from ham bones
  • 1 tbspn sour cream/serving
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh parsley, minced


  • Gather ingredients bfore starting the recipe

Soup Broth

  • Place 1 smoked ham bone or smoked ham hock in a large stock pot and cover with 6 cups of water or enough to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Gently cook for one hour.
  • Remove ham bone and remove all meat from the bone using a fork. Reserve the meat until ready to use, discard the bones.


  • Add 1 cup dry green lentils, 2 bay leaves and the sliced carot and celery to the soup broth and cook until the lentils and vegetables are cooked, but not mushy, about 20 minutes.
  • While the lentils are cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and sweat 1 finely chopped sweet onion until the onions are soft, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Grate 1 clove garlic and add to the cooked onions and stir to combine. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 tspn Hungarian paprika and stir to combine.
  • Add the onion garlic mixture to the soup when the vegetables and lentils have cooked and stir to combine.
  • Add 1 cup cooked and shredded ham from ham bones to the soup and stir to combine.
  • Serve in deep soup bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh parsley.

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