I love reading Nigel Slater's cookbooks because he connects the veggie patch and it's bounty with simple wholesome cooking. This warming Carrot Soup is a perfect example. Whilst the carrots may not come from my backyard, I like the way I can transform a bench laden with vegetables into such flavoursome and satisfying bowls of sunny colour in the midst of winter.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 1 hour. Most of this is simmering on the stove and stirring now and then.
Makes a lot. Freeze some in portion size containers. (Naturally, you could reduce amounts to make less but it does freeze well)
Splash Olive Oil
5 brown onions, sliced
5 cloves crushed garlic
2 kilograms carrots, peeled and chopped. I like to pick up a bag of bargain ‘juicing’ carrots
800 gram tin crushed tomatoes
½ red chilli, sliced. (leave out or add more to your taste)
Good amount freshly grated pepper
1 litre Salt – reduced Chicken Stock
Small handful red lentils
1 – 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
Extra water from a recently boiled kettle
Chunks of toasted crusty bread
Use a very large deep pot (with a lid) because you will be using a stickblender to moosh it up later and you don’t want an orange splattery kitchen
Warm a little oil in the pot and soften the onions, then add the garlic and chilli.
Add the carrots and allow them to cook and steam to soften slightly.
Stir through the tomatoes, stock, pepper and lentils.
Pop on the lid and let simmer for 40 minutes
Check the carrots with a knife to check they are soft and cooked
Taste. Add a tablespoon of the soy sauce. Taste again and if needed add another tablespoon of soy if desired. Adjust the seasoning with extra pepper, salt or soy if you want.
Allow to cool a little then use a stickblender to moosh until smooth.
If it is too thick, add a little recently boiled water and re-blend until desired consistency.
Add some cubes of cooked chicken
A tin of rinsed, drained corn kernels
Stir through some chopped parsley or mint or dill.
Serve with chunks of crusty bread