To be fair, no lentil soup/stew is average. They’re usually beyond comforting and tasty.
But don’t you have to soak the lentils?
People often ask this and the answer is “you can, but you don’t have to.” It’s about improving digestibility. The bigger the bean the greater the need for soaking. Chick peas yes. Kidney beans absolutely. Lentils, not so much.
I don’t soak mine. But I do wash them well.
A favourite fast lentil soup is washed red lentils cooked in stock 1:4 ratio with chunks of potato and sliced leeks. Simmer all together until cooked. Season with tamari soy sauce and top with handfuls of fresh coriander, rocket or whatever greens are in the garden.
I could eat it everyday.
But when I’ve got a little more time in the kitchen this is the recipe I dig out. It’s especially good for filling up blokes!
Lentils + quinoa = protein & iron
1 C organic brown lentils
5 C vegetable stock/water
½ C stock or water
2 C onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
½ C red quinoa
¼ C chopped parsley
2 C tomatoes, chopped
¼ C tomato paste
1 Tbl fresh rosemary, minced (½ tsp dry)
1. Rinse the lentils. Bring them to boil in salted stock or water. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 40 minutes or until cooked.
2. Steam sauté onions until translucent in ½ cup of water/stock. Add garlic, cayenne, bay leaves and quinoa. Stir the mixture until the onions and quinoa give up their liquid.
3. Add parsley and tomatoes. Bring to simmer and stir in tomato paste.
4. Mix in the lentils and their liquid. Simmer 15 mins.
5. Add rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.
6. Stir in more stock/tomato juice/water as needed.
Serve with a dollop of cashew cream and garnish with fresh parsley.
Variations: Swap the quinoa with bulghur wheat and wilt in baby spinach leaves before serving.
For another tasty mid winter stew try this spicy cabbage and kumara hotpot