You'll need to use a variety of lentils here that will soften to a mush when cooked for a short time. French green lentils, or puy, will not work. Orange or red varieties are what's needed and they also help to create the rich autumnal colour. The taste of this soup belies the simplicity of its ingredients. Carrots can be very sweet and lentils are nutty and wholesome, so they make a perfect pair. For a simple twist on this great recipe, try adding a couple of tablespoons of good-quality curry powder to the onions at the early stage of cooking. Serves 4
3 tsp butter
1 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp sun-dried tomato purée
500g carrots, grated
250g red lentils, rinsed and drained
1.5l chicken stock
125ml natural yoghurt
a handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the sun-dried tomato purée and stir-fry for one minute. Add the carrots, lentils and stock to the pan and bring to the boil.
Cook at a rapid simmer for 40 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Spoon the soup, in batches, into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Return the soup to a clean saucepan and cook over a low heat for a few minutes, until heated through.Serve with dollops of yoghurt and the coriander sprinkled on top.
Carrot and lentil soup [via Treehugger.com]