I got another Jamie Oliver book from my local charity shop (Jamie’s Food Revolution), and I have been cooking my way through it. Everything is terrific, like I would have guessed, but this recipe is the one I hope I remember to make more often. The ginger is a pleasingly dominant flavor that really colors the whole soup. I found the red lentils at a local Asian market, and I was surprised to see how much they cooked down and became quite a thick base. It’s truly delicious!
Lentil and Spinach Soup
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
a thumb-sized piece of ginger root
1/2-1 fresh red chili to your taste (I used a red bell pepper)
10 grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cups red lentils
7 cups spinach
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup natural yogurt
Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice and garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid ajar until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden. Meanwhile peel and finely slice the ginger. Seed and slice the chili. Remove the stalks from the grape or cherry tomatoes and slice the tomatoes in half. Add the boiling broth to the pan with the lentils, ginger, chili and tomatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on, or until the lentils are cooked. Add the spinach and continue to cook for 30 seconds.
Season well with salt and pepper. You can serve the soup as is; or, using and immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse until smooth. Divide between your serving bowls. Delicious topped with a dollop of natural yogurt.