Monday, July 16, 2007

Lentil soup

My latest New Statesman column concerns cooking with miscellaneous items of food that need using up. If you have fastidious tastes, you may find it difficult to assemble meals in this way. If you are not too fussy, you can create all sorts of dishes that, while not deserving to be commemorated in recipes, will be perfectly good to eat. And the amount of food you throw in the bin will diminish.

The lentil soup builds on a template that I rely on a lot. You simmer the lentils, perhaps with a garlic clove that will later, minus the husk, be mashed into the soup; you sweat onions, garlic and possibly other vegetables in olive oil; you combine these vegetables with the lentils, and puree the soup (I mostly use a hand blender). The alternative is do it all in one pan, starting with the aromatic vegetables and adding the lentils and the stock to them. Version one takes less time. The other advantage is that you are not cooking these vegetables for so long. Simmered until the lentils have softened, they can lose their freshness of flavour.

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