During the course of my work, I meet clients who purpose me with a desire to exceed their expectations of the services I offer. Now, I am naturally detail oriented, and being of service is at the core of my work, so when I meet someone who inspires me to go beyond, I am grateful for the opportunity to offer more of who I am.
For these people, the menu must be more tempting, the range of food perfectly suited to all participants, the care and attention to detail even more evident.
Today was such a day, when my path crossed with someone who always makes me feel good, and who makes the work day brighter, and the effort more worthwhile.
This soup was on the menu today. Originally made to be vegan-friendly, it proved itself to be popular with everyone who attended. This recipe is for you, you know who you are.
Brown Lentil, Chickpea and Vegetable Soup
To make approx. 10 serves, you will need:
1 cup of washed brown lentils
1 cup of washed chickpeas
2 litres of water
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, washed and chopped
1 medium, orange sweet potato, chopped
3 cups of baby spinach
1 cup of frozen or fresh sweetcorn
5 peeled and chopped tomatoes – very ripe and flavoursome, or 1 tin crushed/diced tomato
400ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon very finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon very finely chopped garlic
red chilli, finely chopped to taste
1 tbsp. of curry powder (more, or less, according to your taste)
powdered, or gelled vegetable stock, to taste. Start with around 3 level teaspoons of powder, taste the soup, and add a little bit more, tasting as you go, until it tastes perfect to you. If you prefer not to use commercially stocks, just omit.
Salt and pepper to taste. Follow the same guidelines offered above.
Get out a nice big pan and put everything, except the coconut milk, the stock powder, and the salt and pepper into the pot.
VERY important not to add any form of salt at this stage, it toughens the skins of the grains and legumes, making them almost impossible to soften.
Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, and turn down the heat. Simmer for around 2-3 hours, longer if possible. The long, slow cooking beautifully tenderizes the grains and legumes, and allows the vegetables to somewhat “melt”, and infuse the soup with rich, complex flavour.
Around half an hour before you plan to serve your soup, add the coconut milk, your stock powder/gel, and your salt and pepper. Taste as you go, until you reach that perfect savoury pinnacle of deliciousness.
Dear friends, if, while cooking your soup, you think it is looking too thick for your tastes, don’t hesitate to add more water. Likewise, if it’s all looking like it needs bolstering up a bit, feel free to add more vegetables, or even to turn up the heat for a while, so that some of the excess liquid evaporates.
I hope you’re cheered and nourished by the soup you have created.
’till next time