Autumn is a beautiful time of year, the leaves that are slowly being blown from the trees practically glow in a rich blush of red, orange and yellow. As the weather gets cooler (and the temperature in the office where I work drops to ‘four-layers’ cold) I turn to soup for a lunchtime warm up. I usually find some time on a Sunday afternoon to whip up a big batch of soup – a week’s worth of packed lunches. If I’m feeling super organised I’ll make two different soups and freeze individual portions so I don’t have to have the same flavour day after day.
Red lentils always strike me as being an autumnal ingredient; maybe it’s because of their lovely orange hue or maybe because they help transform a light vegetable broth into something more substantial. They will never be a star ingredient but they’ll always have a place in my store cupboard. In this recipe their subtle nuttiness, paired with a good dollop of yoghurt, brings out the sweetness of the caramelised, roasted peppers. I found the flavours melded and improved over the week but Monday’s bowl was still pretty tasty.
A little smoked paprika or perhaps some diced chorizo (added with the lentils) would surely be a welcome addition, as would some toasty croutons.
Roasted pepper and lentil soup
Makes 4 servings
- 6-8 red, yellow or orange (bell) peppers (depending on size)
- 2 red onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp dried thyme (I would have used fresh but my bunnies nipped that idea in the bud – literally)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 150g dried red lentils, rinsed
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 750ml vegetable stock or water
- 125ml yoghurt (mine was low fat)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 200°C.
Chop the peppers into large pieces, quarter the onions and put them in a roasting tray. Throw in the unpeeled garlic cloves, thyme and oil and toss to coat. Roast near the top of the oven for 45 minutes to an hour until the peppers are soft and charred in a few places.
Remove from the oven and enjoy the wonderful aroma. Carefully take the garlic and squeeze the flesh into a large pan discarding the papery skins.
Add the roasted peppers and onion, lentils, tomato paste and hot stock and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer for 30 mins until the lentils have gone mushy.
Using a stick blender*, blend the soup until all the big bits of pepper and onion are gone. The soup won’t be completely smooth but I quite like a bit of texture. Stir in salt and pepper to taste; if you have used water rather than stock you may need more salt. Finish by stirring in the yoghurt.
*If you don’t have a stick blender you can use a regular blender, mouli or food processor. The texture will vary but the taste will be the same. It is probably somewhat safer to leave the soup to cool before blending it but I’m far to impatient!