Monday, 21 January 2013

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

File:Dried red lentil.JPG

Source for this image here.

Another recipe!  This one is great for cold wintry days like the ones we are experiencing here just now.  There's no let-up in the snow and frost.  It snowed heavily again last night - covering up all the footprints that had been left in the snow that was already there.  All along the gutter that runs the whole length of our apartment block there are icicles - they look so beautiful, but lethal too!  We have to hurry in and out of our front door for fear of one of them falling on us!  Papa Bear is yet unable to work - which is so lovely, as it means I have him at home with me!  Thank the Lord it doesn't matter that he cannot work - that's one of the best things about being employed by your older brother in the family business!  We have been able to really relax and enjoy this unexpected wintery break.  The snow looks very pretty, but it is difficult to walk in and giving me a lot of extra pain with my arthritis.  Therefore I have been staying indoors whilse the others go out - and on Sunday I made this soup for our midday meal.
It used up some bits I had in the cupboards, and in the fridge too - so it's very adaptable - just add whatever you like!  To serve 4 with some hot bread, I used ...

2 cups dried red lentils (you don't have to soak these)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, or 2 teaspoons garlic paste
4 ribs of celery, diced
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Hot stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Start by gently sauteeing the onion, garlic and celery in a large pan with about 2 tablespoons oil.  

2.  When the vegetables are soft (about 8 minutes), add the diced tomatoes and turn up the heat until they are bubbling but not boiling.  Let them bubble for a minute or two, then add the spices.  Bubble for another minute.

3.  Now add the lentils, and stir well.  

4.  Add enough stock to cover with about another inch of liquid extra.  Cover the pan and turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and simmer for about 40 minutes.  You will need to stir the soup a couple of times during cooking (I set my timer for every 15 minutes so I don't forget!).

5. The soup is cooked when the vegetables are really soft and the lentils have turned mushy.  If you like a smooth soup, you can blend this, perhaps adding a little more stock or hot water to thin it.  We preferred it just as it is - and it really was delicious!

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