The winter soup season is officially here. There is nothing better than a bowl of hot soup to chase away the chill of winter. This red lentil, tomato and harissa soup is everything you could ask for in a soup. It’s comforting, warming and packs a punch on the flavour front and it is incredibly easy to make. Yet another excellent recipe from Felicity Cloake.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
200g red lentils
½ tin plum tomatoes, chopped
1 litre of vegetable stock
5 teaspoons harissa, or to taste
4 teaspoons plain yoghurt (optional)
sunflower seeds to garnish
· Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 7 minutes until softened, then stir in the garlic and cumin seeds and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir through the cinnamon and cook for another minute.
· Stir in the lentils followed by the tomatoes and the stock. Bring to a simmer then turn down the heat and cook for about 20 minutes until the lentils have broken down and the soup is thick. Stir from time to time to make sure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
· Stir in the harissa a teaspoon at a time until you are happy with the taste.
· Serve with yoghurt swirled on the top and garnish.
I love Halloween. Though I’m too old for trick or treating and apple dunking, I really enjoy the autumnal colours and golden sunshine of this time of year and even the early dark nights are still a novelty. I particularly like pumpkin lanterns, though they were turnip lanterns in my day! So this recipe, with its pumpkin bowl, is a nod to Halloween. You don’t have to go to the trouble of making the pumpkin bowls; the soup tastes just as great in china bowls!
For the Pumpkin Bowls
- Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 4
- Cut off the top of each pumpkin (the lids).
- Using a sharp knife, score the flesh 1cm from the skin.
- Scoop out the flesh, seeds and membranes.
- Put the pumpkins on a tray and bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, put the lids in the oven too.
NB: You don’t get much pumpkin out of the bowls, so you would need to buy extra pumpkin to make the soup to fill them.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Rosemary and Butter Beans (Serves 8)
(Waitrose Recipe Card, October 2015)
1 kg pumpkin peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (I used balsamic)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 cloves of garlic (I only used 2)
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
400g can of butter beans
3 rosemary sprigs
1 red chilli
1 litre chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
3 tablespoons crème fraiche (I used natural yoghurt)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pumpkin seeds to garnish
- Preheat oven to 200C/180 fan / Gas 4
- Toss the pumpkin with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the vinegar, cayenne pepper and garlic cloves. Spread over a foil-lined tray and roast for 25 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Meanwhile, heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Roughly chop the leek and celery and sweat over a gentle heat for 15 minutes, until softened. Tip in the roasted squash and squeeze in the flesh from the garlic cloves. Add the chilli, butter beans and rosemary sprigs. Add the stock and 500ml water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the rosemary sprigs from the soup, then blitz with the crème fraiche, lemon and salt and pepper.
- Serve warm, topped with pumpkin seeds.