Monday, May 28, 2012

Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup

This is one of the many soups in my repertoire that I put together a couple of years back, when I was going through a vegetarian phase and, largely through boredom, decided to colour co-ordinate my meals. So here is a red soup, with tomatoes, red peppers and red lentils. Not only is it red, it's also very yummy and the addition of lentils means that it provides you with some protein and iron. So if you, like me, are happy to live off of soup every now and then, here is a good one that ticks most of the boxes for a healthy diet. We can't be too healthy though, that would be boring. So why not add some home-made croutons that are rich in buttery, salty goodness? This was my first attempt to make croutons and it is a great way to use up homemade bread that looses it's softness so quickly. I love to bake bread but there are not enough people in my house to finish it off while it is still good. Usually I just eat the half-stale bread as toast but I think from now on I will turn a lot of it into croutons. If it ever gets too hot her in Ireland for hot soup I will just have to experiment with cold soups like Gazpacho - I had some in Portugal and it was so delicious! Anyway, let's just get on to today's recipes:



Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 small red onions or 1 large red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bell peppers, diced
2 cans tomatoes
1 cup red/yellow lentils
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter or oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the peppers and tomatoes, then fill the tomato cans with water and add that to the saucepan.

Stir in the tomato paste, lentils and spices, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Use a hand blender or food processor to make the soup as smooth or as chunky as you like it, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with toasted bread or croutons.


Homemade Croutons

Leftover bread
Butter
Seasoning - mixed herbs, garlic salt, anything you like really

So I was having a quick look on the internet to see if anybody had any advice for making croutons. The best advice I found was to use real butter and after trying it I really agree - these croutons tasted so good! You could use olive oil of course, but if you can use butter.

First, heat the oven to about 180 degrees celsius.

Take some day-old bread and tear or chop it into small squares. I used leftover focaccia. The amount of butter to use will depend on how much bread you are toasting, of course, but I used about 3 tablespoons of butter for a small roasting dish full of bread.

Melt the butter in the microwave, spread the bread across a roasting dish or baking tray (lined with baking paper if, like me, you are lazy and don't want to do dishes). Pour the butter over and stir the bread about until it seems all covered. While you are doing this you could season them with a teaspoon full of mixed, dry herbs or just salt and pepper, or one of those pre-made seasoning mixes.

Bake the croutons at about 180 degrees celsius for 15 minutes, then toss them about and bake them for another 15 minutes. They should be quite brown and toasty all over.

2 comments:

  1. Jamie, this is a wonderful recipe. Right now, it's in the upper 80's, low 90's so it's a little hot for soup. But, when it begins to cool I will be giving this a try ☺ Thanks so much for sharing with our recipe hop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oops, me bad...I misspelled your name. Sorry :p

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