Saturday, 23 January 2010

Stay at home soup

Ready to eat...

I wanted to make soup to go with my khacahpuri so, casting my Georgian bread in the role of posh grilled cheese sandwich, what else could I choose but tomato soup?

In the middle of winter, fat, juicy tomatoes just begging to slip from their skins and transform themselves into soup are as elusive as the all-over tan. Buying these poor, flavourless January specimens is about as tempting (and likely) as getting my legs waxed. So I rely on tinned tomatoes to give me my lycopene fix. All the better because they, and the rest of the ingredients in this soup, are always to be found in my cupboards so I don’t even have to venture out into the dreich afternoon. More fireside time, always a plus.

At this time of year, I seldom team tomatoes with their constant summertime companion, basil. I want the earthy, warming flavours of cumin and paprika, a bit of heat to warm me from the inside out. This combination will keep me going until trotting along to the shops, market basket tucked into the crook of my arm, is a pleasure not a chore and the tomatoes on offer are more fragrant than the packaging that contains them.

Tomato and red lentil soup

Tomato and red lentil soup

1tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sweet paprika
1 ½ tbsp concentrated tomato puree
1x400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
600ml chicken or vegetable stock
140g red lentils
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Yoghurt and dill or coriander to serve

Serves four.

Warm the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium-low heat; add the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring from time to time, until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic , cumin, paprika and tomato puree and stir for a couple of minutes. Tip the tomatoes, sugar and stock into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then pour in the lentils, season and simmer for 25 minutes, partially covered. Adjust the seasoning and puree until smooth in a food processor or with a stick blender.

Adding the lentils


Return the soup to the pan, cleaned if you’re feeling very virtuous, add more stock or water if it seems a little thick, and warm through. Ladle into warmed bowls, dot a little yoghurt over the top and sprinkle on your herbs. I was swept away on a cloud of Russian nostalgia so I used dill, but coriander would be equally good.


  1. Ooooo, that looks so delicious!! I just have a loaf of bread in the oven and will make soup tonight - Garlic Kale Soup. There's not much better than homemade bread and soup! I'll have to try and make your bread - it looks wonderfully cheesy... :) Silke

  2. I can not think of a more wonderful soup to go with that cheese bread!

  3. Magnificent combination. What a treat!

  4. Hi Silke - Happy new year to you!Your garlic kale soup sounds delicious - two of my favourtie things in one bowl. Do try the cheese bread if you have a chance. It's easy and so good.
    MyKitchenInHalfCups- Thanks. It's so easy to make and so satisfying.
    Joy - Thanks! I hope you'll treat yourself...

  5. Deborah you will live to be one hundred eating fabulously healthy soups like this. And that colour! Almost as vibrant as a borscht. It sounds so cosy to be indoors in your part of the world right now. Mariana x.

  6. It looks delicious, and that bread looks perfect

  7. Mariana - I do hope so, I've got a lot to do!
    Kath - Thanks so much.

  8. Famous as I am for not being able to cook I can make soups - though never the same twice. But none as lovely, colourful and inviting at this one, With M&S bread, not home made.
    Lovely post

  9. That is such a beautiful soup, as well as being like an internal comfort blanket!

  10. I'm with you. The winter tomatoes that are flown in from God knows where just don't do it for me. I can't be bothered. I too use canned tomatoes to make soups and sauces this time of year. Love the use of lentils as well!

  11. Okay, so now I've got to try THIS tomato soup, even though Campbell's has been the staple to accompany my grilled harvarti-dill cheese sammies? Oh, my...I can't wait to taste this!
    You are the Queen of the Cuisine!

    Love, Lanky Yankee Karen

  12. Hot soup is like a warm hug, your version looks delicious!

  13. Mummy, One day I'll get you to make bread, I'll not rest til I do.
    Fran - I have a special affection for those things you can make without a shopping trip, and this soup is one of those.
    Apples and Butter - So true. Besides, if you eat tomatoes in January, what do you have to look forward to in July?
    Karen - This is definitely a soup for you! And thanks for the enoblement...
    Alex - Thanks!


  14. That looks delicious. I absolutely love lentils. Lentil soup is just one of the top pleasures of life, and so straightforward to make too.

  15. Hi Deborah,

    I am part of the NAGG group and once saw your post and intrigued looked at your blog... I have to say that I love this soup and luckily my one year old soon likes it too.. it is so far the only way to get him to eat lentils!!



  16. Thanks, Elisabeth. So pleased to find another lentil lover - so underrated and so delicious.
    Hello Maria. How lovely to hear from a near neighbour! I'm delighted your little boy likes the soup.


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