Thursday, 7 December 2017

Recipe - Carrot and lentil soup with sourdough croutons

Yes, you read it right - a recipe! Well this is supposed to be a "food and craft" blog, but in recent months the food seems to have slipped into oblivion for various reasons. However I've just made some really delicious soup that I couldn't resist sharing.


Sorry it's such a rubbish photo but I was in a hurry to tuck in!

The inspiration for this soup was the last few rather limp carrots in a bag, a stub of stale sourdough bread and a half litre tub of frozen chicken stock that fell on the floor when I was getting something else out and the container shattered so it needed to be used. A rummage in the cupboard produced the tail end of a bag of lentils - I didn't weigh them but it looked like about 80g.

So, to make 4 hearty servings you will need

1 medium onion
4 medium to large carrots
80g red lentils
½ litre stock - vegetable or chicken, plus the same amount of water
a knob of butter
your choice of spice (optional) - see recipe
seasoning

and for the croutons

stale sourdough bread (the equivalent of about 2 slices of bread)
1 tbs light olive oil

First start the soup. Peel the onion and carrots and cut into large chunks, then whizz in a food processor until very finely chopped. (If you don't have a food processor, chop them roughly and use a stick blender on the soup when it is cooked.)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the carrot and onion mixture, and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Then add the spice if you want - I like to add just one spice and ring the changes between cardamom, cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger and chilli - just a generous pinch, to bring out the flavour of the carrots, rather than to add a spicy flavour. Carrots go well with all these spices - or you could omit the spice completely, or stir in some chopped fresh coriander or parsley when serving the soup. Today I used two drops of cardamom scented Spice Drops. Mix in the spice than add the stock and water. Bring to the boil, add the lentils, cover and simmer gently for around 30 minutes until the lentils have completely broken down into the liquid. Don't add seasoning (or use salty stock cubes) until the end, or they may not fall properly.

While the soup is cooking, make the croutons. Heat the oven to 180c (fan) 400F, gas mark 7.
Cut the bread into small dice,  about 1cm cubes,  toss in the oil and spread on a baking tray. Bake for 7-10 minutes until crisp and golden, then tip onto kitchen paper to absorb any left over oil.

When the soup is cooked, taste it and add seasoning. Serve with a scattering of the crispy croutons on top.

By varying the spices this soup can taste different every time - you can travel all around the world in a bowl of carrot soup, adding whatever flavour or spice blend takes your fancy. Or make it taste fresher in the summer by replacing the spice with orange or lime zest and juice. It only costs pennies to make, especially if you get a huge bag of carrots at half price as I did, and buy your lentils and spices in an Asian store or the World Foods section of your supermarket. (Have you ever noticed how much cheaper spices and pulses are in that area than they are in the rest of the store?)

I am sharing this with Kitchen Clear Out at Madhouse Family Reviews

2 comments:

  1. Ooh I love the idea of using different spices each time to change the flavours, and I have everything I need in the cupboards - you're a genius ! :)

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