Skillet #6 - Michael's Autumn Lentil Soup

 
 The group in the Community Kitchen preparing a variety of herbs and vegetables in order to make the lentil soup.

The group in the Community Kitchen preparing a variety of herbs and vegetables in order to make the lentil soup.

 
 

Fair Food Challenge's own Michael came back to host another Skillet Community Kitchen session by demonstrating their recipe for a very seasonal lentil soup with homemade garlic bread on the side. As a current student studying a masters in environment, Michael is quite passionate about sustainability, making healthy food on a budget and learning different cooking methods.

Michael - "This recipe is definitely one of my go-to's whenever autumn rolls around and sweet potato's hit harvest time. Its easy to substitute different ingredients so you can customize this recipe based on what you have on hand and it also keeps really well and can be frozen if you make too much. Together with some homemade garlic bread this is an easy recipe to cook for yourself or a table full of your friends."

 Three people cutting carrots and sweet potato for the soup.

Three people cutting carrots and sweet potato for the soup.

Serves: 8 - 10 people

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

Lentil soup:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil.
  • 4 cups stock (pre-prepared or instant).
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced.
  • 1 onion, diced.
  • 8 carrots, sliced thinly.
  • 8 celery stalks, sliced thinly.
  • 4 medium sweet potato, roughly chopped into cubes.
  • 1 cup of dried lentils, well rinsed.
  • 2 cups of kale leaves, pulled from the stalk and chopped.
  • 3 Tbsp thyme, pulled from the stalk and chopped finely.
  • 3 Tbsp rosemary, pulled from the stalk and chopped finely.
  • ½ cup parsley, pulled from the stalk and chop finely.
  • 1 tin diced tomato.
  • Salt/pepper to taste.

Garlic bread:

  • One loaf of bread (either ciabatta or a French baguette preferably).
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely minced.
  • 1 cup olive oil.
  • 4 Tbsp thyme, pulled from the stalk and chopped finely.
  • 4 Tbsp rosemary, pulled from the stalk and chopped finely.
  • Salt/pepper to taste
 A combination of olive oil and minced garlic next to the scored french loaf that will become roasted garlic bread.

A combination of olive oil and minced garlic next to the scored french loaf that will become roasted garlic bread.

Method:

Soup:

  1. If you are choosing to prepare your own stock:
    1. Peel all vegetables, remove the skins from the onion/garlic, remove the stalks from the kale, celery and the herbs, and put these scraps in a large pot, leaving the vegetables to be used later in the soup.
    2. Combine with about 1.5 litres (6 cups) or water and bring to boil over low/medium heat.
    3. Place some whole thyme and rosemary springs in the pot once boiling and turn down to a simmer.
    4. Leave simmering uncovered for 45 mins – one hour, until fragrant.
    5. Season to taste and remove excess vegetable scraps while retaining the liquid for the soup.
  2. In another pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onion, garlic and celery. Cook until fragrant and translucent (apx 2 – 3 minutes).
  3. Add well-rinsed cup of dried lentils as well as the thyme and rosemary and fry until fragrant.
  4. Add prepared stock (or equivalent amount of instant stock) and bring to boil over high heat.
  5. Once boiling, turn down to simmer and add sweet potato and carrots.
  6. Continue to cook until sweet potato is tender and the lentils are soft (apx 30 – 45 mins).
  7. Add Kale, parsley, tinned tomato, and continue to simmer for 4 – 5 mins.
  8. Season to taste.
 Onions, garlic and celery frying to become the base of the soup.

Onions, garlic and celery frying to become the base of the soup.

Garlic bread:

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
  2. Mince garlic and combine with oil, and herbs and seasoning in a bowl.
  3. “Score” the loaf of bread by slicing through but not completely cutting (i.e. so the slices are there but not so far as to be able to remove them from the loaf: it should still hold together at the base) and use a brush to coat each slice in the garlic/oil/herb combination.
  4. Continue until mix is used and each slice is well covered.
  5. Wrap the loaf in foil and place loaf on a balking tray in the oven for 15 – 20 mins.
  6. Remove foil and continue to bake until crispy on the outside and warm in the middle.
  7. Serve immediately.
 Lentils and chopped herbs being added to the soup base before the stock and vegetables are combined and simmered.

Lentils and chopped herbs being added to the soup base before the stock and vegetables are combined and simmered.

Hints:

  • Use as many aromatics as you can in your stock (i.e. bay leaves, whole peppercorns, whole sprigs of various herbs) in order to enhance the flavour.
  • Bring the stock to simmer over low/medium heat so as not to “burn” the vegetable scraps as this will diminish the flavour.
  • Sweet potato can be substituted with regular potato or a combination of the two. This is the same for substituting the Kale with other course leafy green such as silverbeet.
  • Be careful to watch the garlic bread in the final stages as it can burn very quickly and potentially spoil something so delicate and delicious.
  • If scoring the bread feels too time consuming and intensive you can easily just slice the bread and bake each slice face down with the garlic mix spread on top. I just like impressing my friends with a pull apart garlic bread whenever I get the opportunity ;)
 The final product: a season and healthy lentil soup with sweet potato, carrots and leafy greens.

The final product: a season and healthy lentil soup with sweet potato, carrots and leafy greens.