healthy slow-cooker recipe of the week: help me make delicious lentil soup

The healthy slow-cooker recipe of the week - now running about every-other week - has hit a snag: lentil soup. I love lentil soup, but my own is turning out just OK, not really delicious.

After the first try was too bland, Stephanie suggested using allspice and more bay leaves. Excellent idea! I upped the bay leaves from three to six, and added allspice. Result: big improvement, but still not great.

If you make delicious lentil soup, can you share your secrets? (And if the secret is homemade stock, then I'm out of luck.) More below.

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I'm still using the hell out of my slow-cooker. I usually cook with it twice a week - once for food for the weekend, and once for my meals at work, one batch for the week. I'm still collecting meal ideas, if you have any favourites to share.

I notice that recipes I find online tend to be exceedingly bland. With the exception of foods that are supposed to be hot-spicy (which I avoid), the recipes I see are shy of seasoning. Lentil soup, for example, may call for 1/2 a teaspoon of thyme, 1/2 a teaspoon of oregano, and 1 clove of garlic. A pot of soup with only those seasonings would be tasteless. Maybe this is a case for cookbooks, as opposed to cooking websites.

I also note that this is the kind of post that usually goes on Facebook these days, as opposed to blogs. As you may know, I think that is bad.

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So here's the lentil soup I made yesterday. What's yours?

1 cup dried lentils
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 lb - 1 lb smoked ham, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
6 bay leaves
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon allspice
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 litre or more low-sodium chicken stock

Everything goes in slow-cooker, 8 hours on low.

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