There is a touch of Autumn in the air, even here in Southern Portugal, and my body naturally craves foods that echo the seasons. I’m using a lot of red lentils in my cooking at the moment, blended in soups, dhals and stews they give an irresistible creamy texture and add the all important protein element to an otherwise carb heavy dish.
Roasting the carrots first intensifies the flavour and adds a sweeter edge to this soup, if you serve it topped with seeds, or a drizzle of flax or hemp oil, you have a nutrient dense meal balanced with complex carbohydrates, protein and essential fats. Enjoy.
Makes enough for 4 generous bowls:
1 large white onion
3 sticks celery
1 medium leek
1 kg carrots
small bunch fresh thyme, or 1 tbsp. dried
200g dried red lentils
1.5 litres good quality vegetable stock
sea salt and pepper to taste
Wash and roughly cut the carrots into chunks, don’t worry about peeling them. Place in a roasting tin with all but two sprigs of the thyme, a glug of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and some pepper. Toss about to coat and distribute the thyme, then roast at 180c for around 20-30 minutes or until a little coloured and a knife goes through easily.
Meanwhile dice the onion, celery and leek (except the toughest of the green part) and saute with the lid on over a medium heat with some olive oil until soft. Add the lentils and stock and cook for 10 minutes, then add the roasted carrots and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes then blend, adding salt and pepper to taste, until lovely and smooth. Serve garnished as above, with a little extra thyme.