Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

The perfect liquid nourishment for a chilly winter’s night.

1½ tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
400g potato, cut into 1cm cubes
250g sweet potato or pumpkin, cut into 1cm pieces
150g carrots, cut into 1cm cubes
150g parsnips, cut into 1cm cubes
2 sticks celery, cut into 8mm slices
120g carrot, finely grated
300g dried red lentils
120g carrot, finely grated
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 litres vegetable or chicken stock or water with 4 teaspoons good quality stock powder
3 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce
2 teaspoons tomato sauce (ketchup style)
1 teaspoon salt, optional

Heat the oil over medium heat and then ad the onions. Reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes, then add the cubed potatoes, sweet potato r pumpkin, parnsips and celery. Stir to combine with the oil and onions, and then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the grated carrot, lentils, tomato paste, stock and sauces and stir to combine. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to very low and simmer until the lentils are soft and the vegetables cooked through. Add salt to taste.

Serve with fresh, crusty bread rolls.

You could put in some chopped bacon or ham if you liked, even cook a ham hock in with the vegetables, though the soup would take longer to cook. You may need to check the water level as this soup cooks as lentils take up liquid at a great rate – just add an extra cupful of water or stock here and there if you think it needs it. And stir it every now and then.