04 December 2010

The Best Soup in the Whole World

Well I think so anyway.  And that soup would be my Mum's lentil soup.  Tasty, comforting and good for the soul everything that a good bowl of soup should be.  I know it is not really soup weather here in Auckland, but I have been fighting a cold and soup always seems to be the best medicine. However for you folks up there in the Northern Hemisphere with all that snow it is perfect timing.

I have tried over the years to replicate it and I can make a good pot of lentil soup, but always just not quite the same.  So I always get Mum to make a batch for the freezer.  This time round I watched every step and documented every ingredient and quantity. This is too good not to share.

Mum's Lentil Soup


1 ham hock
1 bay leaf
5-6 peppercorns
200g carrot, diced
200g turnip, diced
1 large onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 leek, washed and finely sliced
12 oz lentils, washed well
Pinch cumin
3-4 tbsp parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
4 pints stock, details below
Creme fraiche, optional


Place the ham hock, bay leaf, 5-6 peppercorns and 4 pints of water in a large pan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes.   Allow to cool slightly and skim off any fat and remove the ham hock.  Saute the onion, add garlic, carrot, turnip, leek and saute until translucent.  Add the cumin and lentils, sweat for 5-10 minutes on a low to medium heat.  Add the stock and bring back to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes until the lentils are cooked.  Blitz with blender until smooth.  If too thick just add a little water. Check seasoning, serve and sprinkle with a little chopped parsley and perhaps a little creme fraiche.

Don't waste the meat off the ham hock.  In some olive oil saute some onion and garlic, a little chilli if you like a little heat, until translucent.  Add some roughly chopped greens...kale, cavalo nero or spinach.  Saute until the greens are cooked and toss through the chopped ham hock. Serve over some grilled bread rubbed with garlic and a little olive oil for a tasty bruschetta or stir through some pasta and sprinkle with a little freshly grated Parmesan.  Perfect for a light lunch.

As for the soup, just serve with some crusty bread and you have one delicious bowl of comfort, real soul food.



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