Yes ma'am, soup has a big fan in me. I love it as a clear broth with little vegetables cut up in it, sometimes floating alongside delicate noodles. I love it offered in a rustic way with hearty chunks of tasty vegetables, herbs and pasta goodness or quite simply, at it's most basic, creamed and whizzed. Any way is absolutely fine by me, because I believe over winter, one can never have too much soup! Of course, it's an entirely different story once those first days of Spring hit, but while Winter is here, I am Enjoying My Soup!! Thoroughly!
This week it has been of the lentil variety. Such an easy soup to prepare with minimal time spent at the bench chopping. If you're organised, the lentils can be soaked overnight in a bowl of cold water, otherwise they will do just fine with a mere three hours or so soaking time in recently boiled water.
As with any homemade soup, much of the taste and nutrition comes from the base. My favourite base for soups is a good, hearty homemade stock. It doesn't have to me meat based, vegetable stock is fine too! We just happen to prefer ours chicken based most of the time.
Another option instead of stock is to substitute whey leftover from cheese making as a soup base. I feel it would be an enormous shame to whey'st this nutritious liquid! If you've been experimenting with homemade ricotta or similar, you will have a significant amount of whey needing to be used up and soup and bread is the perfect partnership. I love it when things slot together so neatly! Every piece of the jigsaw puzzle neatly in it's place, just as it should be. :)
Winter Warming Lentil Soup
2 cups green lentils (dry), soaked
2 onions, chopped
2-4 cloves crushed garlic, depending how strong you like it
1 litre homemade stock
any leftover whey you have to hand, 1- 1.5 litres is ideal
dried herbs - thyme is especially nice in this soup
1/2 cup thickened cream
sour cream to garnish
olive oil, salt and pepper
1. Rinse the soaked lentils in plenty of cold running water and allow to drain.
2. In a large pot, heat a little olive oil over low heat and gently saute the onions and garlic. Once they are transparent, add the stock, whey, lentils and herbs, topping up with water if needed to cover the lentils generously. Allow to come to a boil and then reduce heat. Cover and simmer gently for around 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking the liquid level occasionally to make sure it isn't getting too low.
3. Once the lentils are tender, remove the pot from the heat and whiz the soup with a stick blender until smooth. It may take a while - those lentils can be incredibly stubborn at times! Keep persisting though - smooth is the key word here.
4. Return the soup to a gentle heat, stir through the cream and herbs and season to taste. Adjust to your favoured consistency by adding a little more stock or boiling water to suit. Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a scattering of your favourite herbs. Enjoy :)