I cut this recipe out of a newspaper supplement recently as it reminded me of something a good family friend used to make. I was delighted with how well it turned out, and how easy it was to make (especially since I had lots of work to do on my embryonic kitchen garden today…). This will definitely become a staple. The cumin adds a lovely voluptuous spicy kick.
Lentil Soup, adapted from The Times ‘The Table’ supplement, 25 March 2010
1 clove of garlic
1 red pepper
3 medium carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
160g red lentils
400g tinned tomatoes
2 litres vegetable stock (I used bouillon powder)
salt and pepper
crème fraîche or yoghurt, to serve (optional)
Peel and finely chop the onion, garlic, pepper and carrots.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a low heat and fry the onion, garlic and pepper with the cumin until they start to soften. Add the carrots, lentils, tinned tomatoes and stock, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring every so often, until the soup is rich and thick. The original recipe reckoned 40 minutes, mine took took more like an hour – I did wonder at one point if the 2 litres of stock was a misprint as it didn’t seem to be reducing down, but it got there in the end. If your soup looks too thick (which I doubt), you can add a little more stock.
Ladle into bowls and make it pretty by adding a swirl of crème fraîche or yoghurt.