Posts Tagged ‘lentil soup’


Iris*, our indomitable hostess in Washington DC, introduced us to this satisfying lentil soup–adapted from a recipe by chef Joan Swensen of Swilly’s in Pullman, WA–perfect for warming the cockles on chilly winter nights. The copious amount of liquid slowly reduces in the long, gentle cooking–thickening the soup and concentrating the taste.

2 tblsps olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 stick of celery–chopped fine

1/2 medium green pepper–chopped fine

1 medium carrot–chopped fine

1 large fennel bulb–diced large

4 cloves of garlic–pulped in a mortar with a teaspoon of salt

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp curry powder

¾ tsp allspice

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper

450gms/1lb lentils–pale green flat or Puy (grey-green)

2 pints stock--(I use organic vegetable stock cubes)

4 pints water

1 tin [can] tomatoes (400gms/14oz)–drained and broken up

low/no fat yogurt–a dollop a bowl

fresh coriander or parsley–chopped

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large casserole over a medium heat.
  • Add the onions, celery, carrot, green pepper, fennel and garlic.
  • Stir well and soften gently for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cumin, curry powder, all spice, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  • Cook for a minute, stirring in the spices.
  • Stir in the lentils and tomatoes, then add the stock and water.
  • Bring to the simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with a dollop of yogurt and a pinch of chopped coriander or parsley in each bowl.

*Iris is President of the pioneering Dupont Circle Village in Washington D.C.


The Village is a nonprofit neighbourhood programme providing cultural, social and other services to seniors, with the goal of helping them maintain health and independence as they grow older, enabling them to remain in their homes.


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Renown vegetarian cookbook writer, Rose Elliott found this in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian Cookery and adapted it and I have tweaked it a bit.

It’s a quick excursion to the East.

There was a small cabbage in the fridge and some fenugreek seeds on the shelf in the larder, which I whizzed into powder in a converted coffee grinder!

The fenugreek is optional, but interesting… (as its name implies this herb is found in the mediterranean region and has healing qualities as well as culinary uses.)

Our friend Myriam called in this morning and said it was minus ten last night and would not get warmer until Wednesday, so a bowl of something gently spicy and soupy for lunch might be just the ticket.

for 4

250gms/8oz red lentils

2 1/4 pints/1300ml stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

1/3 teaspoon turmeric

375gms/12oz tinned tomatoes–chopped

  • Rinse the lentils thoroughly.
  • Put them in a saucepan with the stock and the turmeric and bring up to the boil.
  • Cook at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes then set aside.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek powder (optional)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 onion–chopped

a small cabbage–outer leaves removed, quartered, cored and shredded

Juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper

Parsley or better still fresh coriander–chopped to sprinkle over

  • Heat the oil in a new pan.
  • Add the mustard seeds and cook them until they start to pop–a couple of minutes; they look brown in the photo but in fact stay black.
  • Mix in the curry powder and the fenugreek (if using) and let them  cook for a few seconds.
  • Add the onion and the cabbage and mix everything together well.
  • Cover the pan and cook  for 5 minutes.
  • Add the wilted cabbage mix to the lentils.
  • Bring the mixture up to the simmer.
  • Leave it to simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle over the parsley or coriander when you serve.

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A dish to see off the winter chill.
This is adapted from a recipe by Australian cookery writer Jody Vassallo and is a relatively quick all-in-one dish for small company.
It took me about 50 minutes from arriving back from the market to turning off the gas under the casserole.
Chorizo–sausage of the moment–to be eaten in moderation of course!

If made earlier in the day, you may need extra water when reheating it, as the lentils will continue to absorb the liquid–but it shouldn’t be swamped.

2 chorizo sausages–I prefer spicy ones–sliced into round chunks

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion–chopped fine

1 carrot–chopped fine

1 stick of celery–chopped fine

1 small fennel bulb–outer casing and core  removed–chopped into small chunks

50 gms/2 oz pancetta or bacon–chopped

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

120 ml/4 fl oz white wine

2 garlic cloves–peeled but left whole

a couple of bay leaves

250 gms/ 8oz green or puy lentils–the small grey-green ones–washed and drained

1 litre of water–with extra to hand

salt and pepper

a small bunch of parsley–chopped

Heat the oil in a medium casserole and fry the sausage and pancetta/ bacon until lightly coloured.

Remove and set aside on kitchen paper.

Add the onion, carrot, celery and fennel and cook these in the same sausage-informed oil for about seven minutes–until they too have lightly coloured.

Return the sausage and bacon to the casserole, sprinkle over the smoked paprika, add the wine, the garlic and the bay leaves.

When the wine has evaporated, add the lentils and  the litre of water.

Bring up to the simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are tender, about 20–30 minutes.

Season well and serve in warm bowls with the parsley sprinkled over and a swirl of olive oil perhaps.

steaming bowl of lentils and chorizo!

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