I have made this soup or versions of it countless times and have been cooking it for so may years I can’t remember the first time - I just know I was still at school. It’s very simple, just lentils and vegetables, but is tasty, nutritious and cheap. It sustained me all through college when I would make huge pots of it to eat over several days or share with my housemates. Nearly thirty years later, it’s still a staple meal at least once a week during the winter, with any leftovers going with me to work the next day. Many people don’t make soup themselves as the tinned variety is so cheap and readily available. Homemade soup is very easy and so comforting, the chopping and preparation are pleasant wind down after a hard day at work.
Lentil and vegetable soup - serves two plus some left over
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 or 2 leeks, sliced
- 1 stick of celery, sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- Pint and a half of stock, hot - cubes are fine
- 4 - 6 oz red split lentils
- Good pinch of thyme and a bay leaf
- Black pepper
- Parsley to serve
Heat a good slurp of olive in a heavy pot. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until translucent. Add the leeks, celery and carrot, stir well and cook gently with the lid on for 5 - 10 minutes until soft. Add the stock, lentils, herbs and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until the lentils are mushy, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.
- Replace lentils with cannelini, borlotti or flageolet beans, dried or tinned.
- Add a small handful of pearl barley for a thicker both.
- Add a little tomato purée and a handful of shredded savoy cabbage or kale and cook for a further five minutes.