There is just something about it. I know, I know, it does not look like anything special or sound like anything special but...it is SO DELICIOUS. And so nourishing... seriously, you can feel it nourishing you all the way down to your toes. :) This recipe has been a family fave of ours for years... since before we had kids (e.g. the dark ages). I wish I could cite the original source but all I have is a patchy printout from an old work colleague of Mark's (in his old workplace, they used to recipe swap, very cute!), which I have adjusted quite a bit over the years anyway. So, I'm claiming it, haha ;)
This is Lily's often requested and very favourite meal - all the kids gobble it down. The adults too. Everyone who comes to our place and eats a bowl of this just LOVES it and asks for the recipe. I'm not taking the glory, mind you. The glory goes to the humble red lentil - one of the most delightful little legumes around, I reckon, with its subtle and tasty ways! ;) And cumin too of course - it just makes everything taste yummy!
Anyway.... you may not be convinced, but trust me... please give it a try - it's delish! :)
I must apologise in advance, I'm a 'cook by feel' kinda gal so the recipe is not super precise but with a soup like this it doesn't need to be - it's pretty forgiving!! Go with your gut ;) Anything I can clarify, just ask in the comments! xx
(These ingredients are approximate, I tend to throw in more or less depending on what I have on hand or want to use up!)
- 1 Package of Red Lentils (around 400 grams)
- 1 Leek
- 4-5 Carrots
- Half a celery (leaves and all!)
- 2 Onions
- 3-4 garlic cloves (Ok, I'm a garlic fiend so would usually put in around 6!)
- Chicken Stock or Broth - 3 or 4 cups in whatever form of stock you use (I usually make my own chicken broth these days)
- 1 Tb or more of Cumin Powder
- Salt and Pepper
- Tomato Paste - 4ish Tablespoons
- French Onion Soup mix for extra tastiness (Optional - if you are trying to avoid preservatives and such as we are these days, you can add in a home made variety - I just add a quick few shakes of these ingredients)
To serve -
- Lemon/Lime wedges
- Sour cream/greek yoghurt
- Crusty Bread/Lebanese Bread
- Soak the Lentils (for a few hours is great, or even just 10 mins while other food is being prepared is ok if you forget earlier!) then rinse thoroughly in a strainer.
- Roughly chop and lightly fry the leek, onions and garlic in oil, in a large stock pot.
- Roughly chop the carrot and celery and add them in. No need to chop finely as will all be blended up. (I like to leave skins on carrots and include celery leaves too).
- Fry lightly for another five-ish minutes, mixing around as best you can in the stock pot.
- Add the rinsed lentils and lightly fry further.
- Add in stock.
- Fill the rest of the pot with water (to about a couple of inches above the veggies)
- Simmer at length - usually around 40 minutes till veggies become very soft.
- Add Tomato Paste to give a rich orange colour,
- Add a good dash of cumin (a tablespoon at least I would say - but we do love cumin!) and the french onion soup mix or equivalent ingredients
- Blend with stick mixer in the pot
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Serve - with a squeeze of quartered lemon or lime, bread and butter and a dash of sour cream or greek yoghurt if you like! Definitely include the lemon/lime... I never used to think of it and once we tried it, I couldn't believe the lift it gave the dish! Deeeeeelish.
Hearty, nourishing and delicious...
Hope you make it - and hope you like it after this big build up I have given it, haha!!!! ;)