Soup is always good this time of year (Autumn). I like soups that focus on one or two flavours. This is a recipe that brings the red peppers to the front with a hint of paprika following. You don’t have to peel the peppers, I just do because it adds another subtle level. This is not a blended soup. It will happily sit on a low heat bubbling away working everyones appetite with its permeating aromas. This recipe feeds about four people.
1 onion, peeled and chopped as small and even as you can
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
300g red peppers – thats about two large ones, peeled (optional see side dishes) and chopped in small cubes
150g puy lentils (they are the really small ones, you can use the slightly larger ones, I normally soak them for at least one hour, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t though)
10 grams of paprika
1 litre of stock (from a cube or powder)
1 apple peeled and grated
Salt and pepper
Cover the bottom of your pan with olive oil and fry off the onions. Add the garlic when the onions start to brown, then the chopped peppers (hold a little bit back for the garnish). Cook this down for five minutes, add the paprika, then the stock.
When this is bubbling happily, slide in the lentils. Keep the soup boiling, add the grated apple then turn down to a simmer. Keep topping up the soup with warm stock or water from the kettle, so it stays a soup like consistency. After 45 minutes, taste the lentils, if they are soft, turn off the soup, leave for half an hour then taste for seasoning. Sometimes the lentils go a little bit hard, not sure why yet, but just cook it a bit more until they soften.
When you are ready re-heat and serve.
To garnish like the bowl in the photo, I took some of the red pepper that I held back and cut as small as possible, chopped one spring onion and half a chilli.
I don’t often use the word ‘quick’ when referring to my recipes as I don’t normally focus on that kind of quick cooking, but from start to bowl this delicious soup takes 30 minutes – 20 of those were letting it cook. This is a typical lunchtime soup across Spain that you would find on any ‘menu del dia’ in cafes, bars or restaurants. I always put in a handful of something green at the end to cook in the soup – in this instance I used spinach because that’s all I could find in my local shop, but it can be any green vegetable – cut it so it fits into the rest of the soup. Make sure you allow for it’s correct cooking time eg. 1 minute for spinach, 5 minutes for peas, 7 minutes green beans. Always taste to be sure.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 medium sized onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 red pepper
1/2 sweet potato
1 tin of chick-peas
1 heaped tablespoon of paprika
1 litre of stock
You can also use any bits of vegetables that you have left in your fridge. The onion, carrot and garlic are important as the base. I had sweet potato and red pepper in my fridge to use up and it really worked. It will make for a better soup if you cut all the vegetables the same size.
Cut the vegetables into 1cm pieces. Open and rinse the chickpeas. Fry off the vegetables and garlic in olive oil. When they are looking a bit brown, add the paprika, stir well and then add the stock. When it comes to the boil turn the soup down. Cook for a further 15 minutes then add the chick-peas.
Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the soup, grind some black pepper into it, then add the spinach and parsley and leave with the lid on for a minute. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Posted in Quick-Fix Spanish Soup, Savoury Dishes, Soups
Tagged carrot, chickpeas, garlic, leek, onion, paprika, quick, red pepper, soup, spinach, stock, sweet potato, vegetables