Lentil Soup (vegan)
This is one of my personal standbys. It’s like a warm old woolly jersey. It doesn’t knock your socks off, but it’s delicious, smooth and full of veg. It’s also easy and quick to make from store cupboard staples and vegetables you are likely to have around. On that note, feel free to switch around the veg for whatever you have – add a leek, add the leftover cooked broccoli from yesterday, or a couple of Jerusalem artichokes. None of the quantities is exact, I just use a few vegetables and a handful of lentils per portion. Eaten for lunch with a piece of toast, it gently hits the spot, or rather strokes it.
In our first lockdown, to give my Lunch Club seniors a change from cake, sometimes I took round a portion of soup (in sealed clean jam jars which they solemnly handed back to me the following week), and this was one of them. Several people asked for the recipe, which I took to mean it had gone down well. It also freezes perfectly, so you can make larger quantities and have it to hand when a bowl of soup is all that you want. You can, of course, zing it up a bit. Add some chillies – fresh or dried – or some garlic, add some fresh herbs, add lemon, or add tomatoes – not all at once, I’d say, but try what you like. You can even add some curry powder with the frying vegetables if you like your life spicy.
Serves 6 Timings – 10 minutes preparation, 15 minutes cooking
Heat a little oil in a heavy saucepan and cook the onion, celery and carrots for a few minutes until they begin to soften and cook. Add the lentils and stir for one minute. Pour in the stock, bring to simmering, add the marmite and the Henderson’s Relish. Simmer for about 10 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper and any handfuls of fresh herbs you might have around.
Cook for another 5 minutes – the lentils should be very soft and mushy by now and the vegetables are well cooked. Leave to cool, then puree. When you re-heat you might want to add a little bit more liquid as it does tend to thicken up, but you can freeze without doing this, to better use the freezer space. Serve with a salad and fresh bread, or with garlic croutons.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.