Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.
- 80 ml olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp hot paprika
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 150 gm canned chopped tomatoes
- 1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
- 300 gm Persian red lentils (see note)
- ½ cup (loosely packed) mint
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 beetroot, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin
- Poached eggs (optional), to serve
- 100 gm hulled tahini
- 80 gm thick natural yoghurt
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, celery and garlic and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes), then stir in spices and cook until fragrant (30 seconds). Add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened (1-2 minutes), then add stock and lentils. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, half-covered with a lid, until lentils are very tender (20-25 minutes).
- 2Meanwhile, for garlic tahini, stir ingredients and 60ml hot water in a bowl to combine, season to taste and set aside.
- 3Heat remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add mint and fry until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels (discard oil).
- 4Half-blend the lentil mixture with a hand-held blender, stir in lemon rind and juice, and season generously to taste. Ladle into serving bowls, add a swirl of garlic tahini, top with beetroot, poached egg and fried mint, and serve hot.
Persian red lentils are available at select delicatessens. If they're unavailable, use black or green lentils instead.
Drink Suggestion: Rich amber ale. Drink suggestion by Max Allen