It’s Tuesday so it must be diet day. Hey ho, that also means Don Draper Day, though we’ve just reached the end of Season 6, so not long to go now. I am not sure where we will spend our evenings when we are no longer gadding about in 1970s Madison Avenue, though it will soon be too warm for sitting inside after dinner, so perhaps the timing is excellent.
We are still using up bread from the freezer from when Robin ran amok in the new bakery a couple of weeks ago, so soup seems a good option (for which read: ‘an easy cop-out for the cook’ – tee hee).
The fridge didn’t reveal a great choice when I consulted the veggie tray this morning – a lonely sweet potato and a bag of carrots were the only additions to the usual standby onions, garlic and ginger root. I do, however, have some fantastic stock in the freezer from when I cooked a gammon joint last week (it must have trotted into the suitcase when I wasn’t looking, honest Mr Customs man), so we are good to go. Obviously, you can use any type of stock for this, or a stock cube if you don’t have any lurking in the freezer.
This recipe will make quite a big pot of soup, but it does freeze very well, so there’s always next week…
Moroccan spiced carrot & lentil soup
Serves 4 – 6 people
Olive oil and a knob of butter (or just use olive oil for veggie version)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large knob (about 3 – 4 cm) ginger root, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks (or just grate it if you find using a knife too fiddly for this job)
200g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
400g carrots, washed and cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds if you don’t want it too spicy) or a teaspoon of chilli flakes
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
140g red lentils
800ml vegetable or chicken stock (or equivalent hot water and a stock cube)
200ml milk (omit for veggie version – you may need to add a little more stock if too thick)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
A large handful each of fresh coriander and fresh mint, finely chopped
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan with the knob of butter. Add the onions and cumin seeds, with a pinch of salt, and cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft and golden brown. Add the sweet potato, carrots and garlic. Give everything a good stir, turn down the heat and cook for about five minutes, until the veggies are starting to release their juices.
Stir in the chilli (or chilli flakes), the lentils and the rest of the spices and make sure everything is well combined. Pour in the stock and milk and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook until the vegetables are soft – about 20 minutes should be enough. Puree in a blender or with a stick blender. If the soup is too thick, add a little extra stock or milk (or hot water).
Stir in the fresh herbs and serve straight away in warm bowls.
If you are not using up a bread mountain from when your husband ran amok in the new bakery, it strikes me that this would go exceptionally well with Hughie’s flatbreads.