Spicy Red Lentil Soup

Because it is that time of the year and the weather is miserable, we find that soups are turning into the best food we can eat on cold late afternoons. I know you can buy any number of prepared, processed soups and soup mixes in a myriad varieties but I am drawn to lentil soups. I like several different recipes and both green and red lentils. Some with meat added, some without. The variations on this theme seem endless!

As I have said before, I often trawl the internet for mix and match type recipes and sure enough, I was able to cobble together a red lentil soup that put paid to a couple of small carrots in the crisper that needed using and a Maris Piper potato from last year’s crop.

The ingredients fetchingly on my bench top

I can’t seem to keep the potatoes cool enough and they are starting to sprout so I am frantically making recipes where I can slice, chop, mash (Maris Pipers don’t mash well) and roast the potatoes before they have to be discarded!

This is an excellent warming soup, the taste of which can be manipulated with the touch of a spice here or there. You will always need cumin and turmeric.

1 cibouli  and ½ a leek make a good combination.
½ med. carrot
1 med. potato
½ red capsicum
1 cup red lentils
½ teasp dried garlic to taste
½ teasp paprika or chilli
½ teasp turmeric
½ teasp cumin
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
200g chopped tomatoes (or use 50gr double concentrate and 2 chopped tomatoes)
500ml chicken & veg. stock. I had some chicken stock made from the bones of our roasted chook!
1 teasp of dried basil
1 bay leaf
S&P

Chop the vegetables finely and put to one side.
Heat 1 teasp of oil in a large pot and fry all the spices, but don’t let them burn.
Add vegetables except the potato and lentils; stir to coat vegetables with spices and cook for 5mins. Add enough stock to cover the vegetables, then add the basil and a bay leaf to vegetables.
Bring to the boil and simmer 40mins or until lentils are cooked. More stock or water may be needed if the mixture gets too thick. Stir regularly so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the potato about halfway through the cooking
Just before the finish add a big splash of Nando’s Sundried tomato and basil sauce to taste. Let it all simmer for ages, adding water when it gets too thick.

Soup and the trimmings

Using a hand whisk, whisk the whole lot and return to the pot. Serve with crusty bread, ciabatta or dinner rolls. Some sour cream dollops on top of the soup look good so does some parsley leaves.
It is also a good soup un-whisked, of course, and you won’t have to add more liquid to thin it down.

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