Don't worry about exact quantities for this recipe - accuracy isn't important. You can be flexible with the ingredients too - although, remember, a soup is not a culinary dustbin - so nice, fresh stuff only!
Makes loads - enough for one person for a week at least. Reduce the quantities if you don't want to be eating lentil soup for a whole week - or if you don't have a huge pan.
You will need:
- 5 or 6 carrots, washed, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 onions (red onions make a nice change) peeled and roughly chopped
- a few sticks of celery - optional
- garlic - as much as you fancy. I like lots, so I add about 4 cloves
- red lentils - about half to two thirds of a 500g bag, or more if you want a very thick soup
- Salt and pepper
- herbs or spices: a couple of teaspoons of cumin seeds and coriander seeds are nice, as is a good pinch of chili powder. Fresh parsley, coriander or even mint all finely chopped are a nice touch. A couple of teaspoons of green or red Thai curry paste make a nice East Asian version. Curry pastes would work as well.
- 2 litres of stock - Marigold vegetable bullion is lovely and not too salty like many stock cubes. Plain water will be fine if you've not got stock, and obviously fresh stock would be great.
- Heat some oil or butter in a large pan - the bigger the better, a large casserole will do the job.
- Sweat the chopped carrots, onions and optional celery for about 10 mins, or until soft. If you've got a lid for your pan, cover it, but if not just keep the heat low and stir occasionally.
- Add any spices or curry pastes you plan on using and stir and fry for a minute or two. Add pepper, but not salt at this stage. If you're adding fresh herbs, add them when the soup is cooked.
- Add the lentils and mix everything together.
- Add the stock and stir to mix.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20-30 mins until the lentils are soft - if you've used a lot of lentils you might need to add some extra water if it starts to look too thick.
Add salt, being careful not to add too much if you used a stock cube - you might not need any extra salt.
If you want your soup to be smooth, wait until it's cool and blend it with an electric blender, or push it through a sieve. You could even use a potato masher if necessary.
When you're ready to eat, heat the soup through thoroughly and enjoy.
You will need:
- Generous knob of butter
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 handfuls mushrooms
- 1tbsp flour
- 1 chicken stock cube
- Single cream
- Chop your onion, garlic and mushrooms. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Fry your onion and garlic in the butter until soft.
- Add the mushrooms and fry for ten minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and the chicken stock cube. Boil a pint of water in the kettle and pour this into the pan. Put a lid on the pan and cook for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms are totally cooked. Turn off the heat.
When the soup is cooked, pour it into your blender and blend until smooth. When you are ready to eat the soup, pour it back into the pan, stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. I like to add a lot of pepper to this soup that you get a nice peppery kick. Serve with bread.
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