This soup is adapted from a version by Ross Dobson featured in his book, Kitchen Seasons. I had to include it here because it tastes just like the Lentil Soup my Mum used to make. It is not only delicious but hearty and comforting. Nothing else can make you feel better than a steaming hot bowl of this soup.
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree (you can use either sun-dried or normal)
3 carrots, peeled and grated
250g red lentils, rinsed
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
Salt & pepper
A sprinkling of curry powder to serve (optional)
In a large pan melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and leek and gently sauté for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and tomato puree and cook for a further minute before adding the grated carrots, lentil and stock. Stir everything together then season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium-low heat until the soup comes to a boil, then lower the heat slightly, remove the lid (or have it on at an angle so that it isn't completely covered) and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and completely tender, stirring from time to time.
Remove the soup from the heat and leave to cool slightly. At this point you can either serve it as it is – perfect if you prefer a chunkier soup, or you can blitz it up to make a thick and smooth soup (as pictured). And if you really can't decide, it's also delicious when you blend half of it and keep the other half chunky....then you get the best of both worlds!
Heat before serving and if you like, (as I do) finish it off with a little sprinkling of curry powder.