Heat 1-2 Tbs of olive oil in soup pot. Saute carrots, onions, and celery until a bit carmelized. Add garlic to vegetables and saute for 30 seconds. Add a cup or two of water to deglaze the pan, scraping up all of the browned bits. Add remaining water, lentils, bay leaf and ham hock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 2 hours. If soup seems to be reducing too quickly (it should be a somewhat thick soup), cover with a lid for remaining cooking time.
Remove ham hock; pick meat off bone, chop and return to soup. Salt and pepper to taste.