Creamy Lentil and Vegetable Soup2012-07-03
- Skill Level: Hard
This is an excellent main-meal soup that you can sit down to eat half an hour after you start to make it.
You can change the ingredients, depending on the bits and pieces you have in the refrigerator, so it is never the same twice.
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 litre hot water
- 25-50g butter
- 1 or 2 onions
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic
- 1 or 2 carrots
- 1 or 2 stalks celery
- 1 tsp whole or ground cumin seeds
- ½ tsp ground coriander (optional)
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp cream
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 1 cup frozen peas (or other frozen vegetables)
- About 1 cup chopped tomato
- About ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, spring onions or chives, and small amounts of basil, thyme, oregano)
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
- 1-1½ tsp salt
- As soon as you think about making this soup, measure the lentils and hot tap water into a bowl or jug so that the lentils start softening.
- Melt the quantity of butter you want in a fairly large saucepan. Add the chopped onions, garlic, carrots and celery. If you intend to purée all or part of the soup, you can leave the vegetables in large pieces. If you want the soup unpuréed and fairly chunky, cut them into small, even pieces.
- Add the cumin, coriander, garam masala and paprika to the vegetables. (Leave out any of these which you do not have, or add 1-2 tsp curry powder, if you have none of them.)
- Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes longer, without letting the vegetables brown.
- Add the hot water and the lentils, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables and lentils are tender.
- Purée all, or part, or none of the mixture, and bring it back to the boil.
- Mix the cream and cornflour to a paste with a little extra water, and pour into the soup.
- Add the peas or other frozen vegetables and the tomato that has been chopped into pieces the same size as the peas. Add the sugar, then salt to taste. You will need at least a teaspoon, or the soup will be flavourless. Add small amounts, tasting carefully.
- Add the fresh herbs. If you have leftover cooked vegetables, cut them into small cubes and add them too.
- Serve with hot toast or croutons, French bread or bread rolls, and with a leafy green side salad or coleslaw, if you like.