Although we had at least a week of summertime flip-flop days, May seems to have regressed to the cold and damp of early April. Weather like this – today it rained for the afternoon and just didn’t stop – means a return to cold weather soup recipes, warming comfort food for wintery-feeling evenings.
This lentil soup recipe – for I believe that you can never have too many lentil recipes in your repertoire – is from Domini Kemp, of Itsabagel fame (all time favourite bagel? Definitely a Mountaineer!). It was the perfect add on to any bagel order, back in my Dublin days, and I was delighted to see it in one of her Irish Times pieces a few weeks ago. I made it that very week and we loved it but then finer weather (and PSB) came on the scene so I put away my soup recipes – but not for too long, as it turned out.
The recipe below uses about half the quantities in Domini’s original but it is still enough to feed about eight to ten people or stock up the freezer with lunch portions and quick after work suppers. It’s particularly good eaten with hot buttered toast, while watching the rain stream down the windows, although hopefully we won’t have too many more of those days.
Spicy Lentil Soup
Sunflower or olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Onions – 500g, peeled and chopped
Carrots – 750g, peeled and chopped
Celery – ½ head, chopped
Garlic – 4 cloves, peeled and chopped
Ginger – a large knob, peeled and sliced
Marigold bouillon powder – 2 tablespoons
Water – 1½ to 2 litres
Sweet chilli sauce – 2 tablespoons
Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
Split red lentils – 300g
Brown or puy lentils – 300g
In a large saucepan, heat the oil, then add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and ginger and cook over a low heat for five minutes. Mix the Marigold bouillon powder with the water and pour into the saucepan with the sweet chilli sauce, the soy sauce and the two kinds of lentils.
Bring to a simmer, put the lid on the saucepan and cook over a moderate heat for approximately 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and the lentils are soft. Season to taste.
Makes approximately 2 litres. Freezes well.