This soup owes a lot to my Mother's legendary soup, which she used to make for us on bleak, cold winter nights in Sydney. They do happen!! Or at least they feel cold in comparison to most other weather conditions there.
Her recipe came from an early 80's edition of the Diet for a Small Planet cookbook, which I read pretty much cover to cover once I decided I didn't like the idea of eating meat. The book put into words what I was thinking, even as a teen in the early 90's..that there is another way to eat, that we didn't have to be cruel to eat deliciously & well, and that what we eat can positively or negatively affect everyone's future.
But that's not why I loved Mum's soup so much, I loved the bite and slight meatiness of the lentils, the fragant herbs & how they all came together and perfectly balanced to create a delicious, warming soup. Simply served with a hunk of bread it's a whole meal in itself.
So the other night when The Gardener expressed a wish for soup, prefereably one that wasn't a blended, creamy type, I remembered Mum's cozy soup... and thought I could make similar. The result? Well, despite the fact that I didn't look up the recipe, instead creating it from my taste memory, was an absolute success! The original recipe calls for a smidge of sherry to be added at the end- I subbed in some red wine... . I also added in garlic and chilli which weren't in the original recipe, as well as some tomato paste to enrich the tomato flavour. The result, well, I have to say, was pretty good. One pot served 2 of us easily twice, plus I froze at least one other portion for later. And I plan to make it again very soon. It's a winner! And is one to make extra of & freeze the left overs for those horrible days when it's cold and nasty outside, you don't want take away, but have no energy to cook.
So here it is.. My take on the Diet for a Small Planet's Lentil's Monastery style.. . as introduced to me by my Mother.
( Thanks Mum!)
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A warming & hearty vegan soup that is full of lovely lentils & tomatoes. Just like a hug in a bowl!
- 1 medium onion , finely chopped
- 2 carrots , finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 250 g dried lentils
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 pack ( 400ml) tomato passata
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 small mild chillis- deseeded
- 1 tspn mild chilli powder
- 1 Tbs marigold stock powder
- 800 mls boiling water
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- fresh chopped parsley- to serve.
Sweat the garlic & onions in the oil in a large, heavy saucepan.
Add the chopped chilli, tomato paste & carrots & cook for 5 minutes or so, until soft.
Add the tomato pasata, and all the herbs & chilli powder and stir.
Add in the lentils, the stock powder, the water & the wine.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a slight simmer.
Cook until the lentils are tender- around half an hour.
Taste & adjust the seasoning if needed.
Serve with a sprinkle of parsley & some crusty bread.
Adapted from Lentils Monestary Style:: Diet for a Small Planet