Red lentil and chard soup

Ingredients

  • 500g split red lentils
  • 2.5 litres cold water
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 200g Swiss chard
  • 50g coriander leaves
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • Sourdough bread
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Salt and black pepper
Red lentil and chard soup
    Serves six
  1. Wash the lentils in plenty of cold water. Place in a large saucepan with 2.5 litres of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 35 minutes or until soft. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface during cooking.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove about half the lentils from the cooking liquid and set aside in a bowl. Add a generous pinch of salt to the lentils and water in the pan and liquidise using a stick blender or in a food processor. Return the reserved lentils to the soup.
  3. Now comes the arduous chopping part of the recipe. Peel the red onions, halve and thinly slice them. Place a frying pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4–5 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent. Meanwhile, remove and discard the large stems from the Swiss chard. Wash and rinse the leaves thoroughly, then chop them roughly. Do the same with the coriander, leaving a few whole leaves for garnish later, and that’s all the chopping done.
  4. Mix the cooked onions, chard leaves and chopped coriander into the lentil soup and season with the cumin, cinnamon and some salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the soup and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  5. In a pestle and mortar, or using the heel of a large knife, crush the coriander seeds and garlic together. Melt the butter gently in a small saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and coriander seeds and fry for 2 minutes, until the garlic starts to colour slightly. Stir this into the soup, remove the pot from the stove and cover with a lid. Leave the soup to infuse for 5 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve garnished with lemon zest and coriander leaves and pass round some sourdough bread and lemon wedges. Make sure everybody squeezes the lemon into their soup.