Brrrr … it’s properly freezing here at the moment. Who doesn’t love a hearty bowl of homemade soup with a hunk of crusty bread now that the cold Winter days are upon us? This is my go to recipe for a healthy but yummy lunch and it’s a fab way to sneak lots of vegetables onto Wonderboy’s plate (just don’t tell him!).
I measured everything here because I was writing this post but usually, I just use whatever quantities I have so don’t worry too much. As a result, I rarely get the same soup twice but you really can’t go wrong.
PREP TIME – 15 mins
COOKING TIME – approx. 60 mins
PORTIONS – approx. 5 adults & 4 kids (depends how thick you like the soup and how hungry your family is!)
2 red onions
2 sticks celery (approx. 120g)
1 leek (approx. 125g)
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
5 carrots (approx. 420g)
1 turnip or swede (approx. 325g)
125g red lentils – rinsed in cold water
2 ham stock cubes **
1 chicken stock cube **
2 litres of boiled water
1 large bay leaf (I use dried)
* These are the vegetables I normally use but feel free to experiment with whatever you have leftover in the fridge, veg box or garden. Butternut squash substitutes well for the turnip and adding a couple of parsnips is pretty tasty too.
** 3 vegetable stock cubes works fine if you’d prefer a vegetarian option.
1. Peel and chop all the vegetables into similar sized small pieces – the smaller they are, the quicker they’ll cook.
2. Choose a large pot to make your soup in. I use a 5 litre non stick stockpot.
3. Fry the onions and celery for a few minutes until softened. You’re not looking for any colour but don’t worry if they’re a bit golden – it’s only soup!
4. Add the leek and crushed garlic and cook for a few minutes. Then add the carrots and turnip – let it cook for a few minutes, stirring every now and then.
5. Add the rinsed lentils and stir them through the vegetable mixture.
6. Crumble in the 2 ham stock cubes along with 1 chicken stock cube.
7. Add 2 litres of freshly boiled water and stir through.
8. Pop a large bay leaf in and stir through.
9. Bring the mixture to the boil then lower the heat to just a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom.
10. Check the vegetables and lentils are cooked through. Remove the bayleaf and blend until smooth (I use a stick blender). Season to taste.
If, like me, you like particularly thick soup, try boiling the mixture for a few minutes with the lid off before you blend it.
If the soup is too thick once it’s blended, just add a little water until it’s how you like it.
This is perfect for freezing so make a large batch, portion it and pop it in the freezer. Defrost before heating up if you remember. I never do and it’s totally happy to be heated in the microwave from frozen.
And there you have it – Vegetable and Lentil Soup. Nothing fancy but it sure hits the spot! Crusty bread anyone??