If you’ve never tried making soup before this is the perfect recipe for the beginner as it’s very simple, but looks and tastes great. The quantities I’ve given here would feed four hungry people (or maybe six with more delicate appetites!) You’ll need:
1.5kg mixed vegetables, according to taste and availability, peeled and chopped into roughly uniformly sized pieces ( I used celery, leek, parsnips, onions, courgette, carrots, turnip and a small red chilli)
30g red lentils
1.5 litres of water, with the addition of an optional vegetable stock cube
1 tablespoon olive oil or any other vegetable oil
- melt the butter and olive oil together in a large pan. Add all the vegetables and mix them well with the butter and oil mixture
- cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, stirring them occasionally, so that they absorb the flavour from the butter and oil and start to soften
- add the lentils and water to the pan and give everything a good stir
- bring the soup to the boil and cover the pan with a lid
- turn the heat down so that the soup is simmering and then cook it for 40 minutes
Simple, wasn’t it?
Whilst the soup is cooking, make the croutons. I would suggest that you consider making double the quantity that you think you’ll need as they are likely to be sampled when you turn your back!
For these you will need:
3 slices of white bread with the crusts removed
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (preferably not olive oil as it is too strong a flavour for this)
salt, pepper and a good pinch of chilli powder
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC
- put all of the ingredients for the croutons into a polythene bag and gently mix them together
- tip them out onto a baking tray and put them into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy
If you prefer a smooth soup, blend it to the consistency you prefer. However, it’s just as nice left unblended. Sprinkle the croutons and maybe a few chopped fresh herbs on to the top of the soup. A drizzle of cream would look good too!
Proudly present the finished soup to your awaiting diners. They’ll almost certainly be impressed!