Quick and Easy Lentil Soup – and variations on the theme.
This is a cheap and easy soup to make and one that most people love.
For the basic soup
(Serves 4 hungry people as a meal in a bowl or 6 as a starter.)
- 250g/9oz/2 cups red lentils, washed
- knob of butter (or a tablespoon of vegetable oil)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1.5l/3 pints stock (vegetable, ham or chicken – 2 stock cubes)
Put the butter or oil in a suitable pan, and melt it. Chop the onion and sweat off in the pan.
Meanwhile peel and chop the carrot. Add to the pan and sweat off.
Wash the lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear. Add them to the pan.
Add the stock, or stock cubes plus boiling water.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft. (There’s no need to soak them overnight.)
Put the soup into the liquidiser or use a hand-held wand type of blender until you reach the desired consistency. (I don’t like my soups puréed too smooth. Better, I think, to leave a bit of texture.)
And that’s it. Easy!
Here’s a picture of the frugal version – let’s call it Hearty Lentil Soup. I served it with oatcakes.
And the variations on the theme:
Calorie Counter and Vegan Lentil Soup
Use vegetable oil instead of butter. For vegan use vegetable stock (cubes).
The above method is already vegetarian as long as vegetable stock is used.
And now for the variations for those without dietary restrictions.
Cream of Lentil Soup
Simply swirl in some cream before serving and reheat.
Cream of Lentil and Bacon Soup
Snip 2 or 3 rashers of streaky bacon into the soup for a lovely rich flavour. Simmer for a few minutes. Add cream (I used about 100m of 35% cream but you can add less if that’s how you prefer it). Reheat, and serve.
Ideas for garnishing
I used chopped parsley and large croutons made from focaccia bread. Any crusty bread would be nice too.
As you can see, the finished result looks good enough even for a dinner party starter.
Cook’s Note: This soup is even better if you make it with proper ham stock or cook a gammon joint in it. Perhaps we’ll do that another day.