Spiced Lentil Soup
Will made this soup the first time when I visited him after a long flight from Sydney to Germany. He was studying in Mannheim at the time, while I stayed in Sydney - a sort of country swap (crazy I know!) I arrived quite jet lagged and very hungry. After a shower and a quick 15 minutes power nap I came out to the kitchen and found a pot in the middle of the table with this delicious soup waiting for me. The simple combination of lentils and celery with garam masala, lemon and herbs is stunning. The recipe comes from 'At Elizabeth's Table', a collection of Elizabeth David's best everyday recipes. Will's mum gave us the book for Christmas a few years back. We have made it many times since, as it is so simple and can be enjoyed in cold and warm months.
Recipe by Elizabeth David
- 125g red lentils
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 small onion
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Water or stock
- Juice of 1 lemon, parsley or mint, salt
In a soup pot warm about 4 tbs olive oil. In this melt the chopped onion. Stir in the spices. Let them warm thoroughly before adding the crushed garlic cloves and then the lentils - it is not necessary to soak them - and the celery, cleaned and cut into 5cm chunks.
Let the lentils soak up the oil before pouring over them 1.5 litres of water or stock, we prefer veggie stock. No salt at this stage! Cover the pot and let the lentils cook steadily, but not as a gallop, for 30 minutes. Now throw in 2 tsp of salt or to taste and cook for another 15 minutes.
By this time the lentils should be completely soft. Sieve the lentils through a sieve or purée them in a blender. We prefer to leave them as they are
Return the soup to a clean saucepan, and when its reheated, taste for seasoning and may need a little bit ground cumin. Stir in a tbs or two of chopped parsley or mint. Lastly add a good squeeze of lemon juice and serve.