When it comes to keeping a bagful of nourishing goodness on hand for one of those chilly winter evenings, I can’t think of a better (and easier) option than lentils. This soup recipe is one that has evolved over many Sundays of trying various combinations, and is so much a part of my life that I never even thought of sharing it before. But just thinking of everyone getting cosy back home in South Africa as winter goes into full swing made me think it’s time to share this old classic of mine.
250 ml IMBO Brown Lentils
500 ml cold water
45 ml olive oil
8 baby leaks, sliced
2 shallots, finely chopped
200 g small carrots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 sprigs of thyme
150 g long stem broccoli, florets cut off and stems sliced (keep the florets to one side)
400 g baby Rosa tomatoes, cut in half
750 ml vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100 g baby spinach leaves
10 g flat leaf parsley, chopped
250 ml Greek style yogurt
1 red chilli, sliced
Place the IMBO lentils in a sieve or a drum sieve and rinse with cold water. Then, place them in a large saucepan, pour in the water and place on a low heat. It is very important that you don’t add salt as this will prevent the lentils cooking soft. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Drain and keep to one side.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the leeks, shallots, carrots, garlic, thyme and sliced broccoli stems. Fry over a low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and fry for 1 minute. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Close with a lid and let the soup simmer for 2 hours.
Add the broccoli florets, lentils and spinach. Gently mix until the spinach has wilted.
Serve with yogurt and sliced chilli.