Okay, so the title is not something that makes you leap into the air and say to yourself, “Oh yay! Lets have lentil soup, yum!” but actually that is what should happen. This is one of those soups for when you need to be warm, toasty and coddled. It is full of veg so is great for a week when 5 a day has gone out the window, in this household that is when there are lots of meetings and show and sport practices which go way too late. Make up a double batch at the weekend and keep it in the fridge or freezer and heat as required. (I am not involved in the sport practices just in case there was any concern there.)
Now the deal is, you can add and subtract ingredients as you want especially the flavourings, I tend to put curry powder in it instead of garam masala and paprika but whatever it will all be good. Use what is to hand, maybe make it once according to the rules and then mess around with it.
1 cup red lentils, 25g butter, 1 or 2 onions, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, 1 or 2 carrots, 1 or 2 stalks of celery, 1tsp ground or not cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp garam masala and paprika, 2 -4 Tblsp cream, 2 tblsp cornflour, 1 cup of frozen peas about 1 cup of chopped tomato, 1 tblsp sugar, 1 – 11/2 tsp of salt about 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs.
As soon as you think about making the soup measure the lentils and 1 litre of hot tap water into a bowl to soften them. Melt the butter in a large pot, add garlic, carrots, celery. If you are going to puree it leave them in big bits or chop them small. Add spices, cook over moderate heat stiring occasionally for 2 – 3 min but don’t let the veg go brown. Add the lentils and hot water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Puree all, or part, or none of the mixture then bring back to the boil.
Mix as much of the cream (yoghurt works well too) as you like to a paste with the cornflour and a little extra water and pour into the soup. Add peas (I don’t) and the chopped tomato. Add sugar, salt to taste and the fresh herbs (it is winter Alison this will be parsley at best!).
Serve sprinkled with Parmesan – or not. and serve with hot toast or the fantastic bread I will now tell you how to make.
Slice a big loaf of tiger bread or vienna or some kind of bread into chunky slices. Heat up the grill, put the bread on tray, butter or marge on one side, grate or sprinkle parmesan over the top liberally and cook till it bubbles. Yum.