About this recipe: Carrots give a slightly sweet edge to this thick, smooth soup, which contains delicious pockets of melted blue cheese. All you need with it is some crusty bread to make a satisfying and nutritious main course.
Make a red lentil and caramelised onion soup. Cook 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) thinly sliced mild onions with 4 sliced garlic cloves in 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for 10 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle over 2 tsp caster sugar and fry for a further 15 minutes or until the onions are golden and caramelised. Add 300 g (10½ oz) split red lentils, 1.7 litres (3 pints) vegetable stock, 300 ml (10 fl oz) dry white wine, 1 tsp crushed black peppercorns and 4 bay leaves. Simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender, then remove the bay leaves. Pure half of the soup, then stir this back into the rest of the soup in the pan. Season and reheat. Serve with cheese crotes, made while the soup is simmering: arrange 12 slices of baguette in clusters of 3 on a foil-lined grill pan. Sprinkle with 85 g (3 oz) grated Gruyre cheese and grill until the cheese melts and starts to turn golden (the cheese will stick the bread slices together). Ladle the soup into soup plates. Carefully place 3 cheese crote clusters on top of each portion and serve immediately.
Unlike other pulses, lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. They are a good source of protein, starchy carbohydrate, fibre and B vitamins. * Celery has only been used as a vegetable and salad ingredient since the late 17th century. It contains potassium, a mineral that helps to regulate fluid balance in the body, and therefore helps in the prevention of high blood pressure. It also contains a compound called phthalide, which may aid in lowering blood pressure.
A, copper * B1, B6, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc * B2, C, E, folate, selenium
I liked it very much - filling and sustaining. However I did make it with fresh chicken stock I had already made some and didn't bother with the blue cheese as I didn't have any, though I think that would be a lovely addition. I also didn't blend mine because I prefer a "lumpier" soup, but might have done so for guests. - 12 Apr 2014