Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Spicy Lentil and Bean Soup

Soup is one of those foods I can have every day when the days are getting colder, and I love that there's never a shortage of soup recipes.

Now this one, is more of a meal-y soup. Its chunky and filling and hearty and healthy and its got quite a few vegetables in there. Usually, I prefer smooth soups, like my potato and leek soup - but when a soup is spicy, and is as colourful as this, I prefer them chunky. Also I just prefer the bean texture in soup, and wouldn't want it blended.

I increased the spice levels for this soup - I didn't think this the 1/4 teaspoon of chilli flakes was going to do much for me. I also added a pierced chilli to add some heat. And it wasn't even spicy, my 5 year old sister could eat it with no complaints of spice. But I do think that it would be spicier the next day, once the flavours have had a chance blend in... I guess I'll find out today.

You can easily add some more vegetables in this meal, or other beans and different lentils, one of my sisters suggested adding sweetcorn next time, and the other chicken,  although I don't think this needs any chicken and is tasty and filling enough as it is. Sweetcorn would make a good addition to the vegetables, but I'd stir them in at the end, so they maintain their crunchy texture. Maybe next time. 

Spicy Lentil and Bean Soup

(Serves 8-12)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks of celery, sliced (we only had for - feel free to add more)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or sliced (omitted this as some people in the household refuse to eat anything with garlic in it)
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons chilli flake (adapt to your spice levels)
300 grams red/orange lentils (Although not instructed in the book, I rinsed mine a couple of times)
2 x 400 gram cans of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400 gram cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 x 400 gram cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 liters vegetable stock (or chicken)
1 fresh chilli, pierced (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
bunch of coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat until hot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and fry for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, garam masala, and chilli flakes, and further cook for a minute or so. Stir in the lentils.

Add the tomatoes, both beans, tomato puree, stock, and fresh chilli, stirring well. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring regularly to avoid the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cover the saucepan with its lid. Simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the lentils and vegetables are tender. 

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then stir in the sugar, and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in coriander.

Serve, with a dollop of yogurt if you wish.

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