Pharmacy in a bowl – lentil soup

April 17, 2009


So, I have had a vile cold all week. And for three days I ate this, noon and night. And now I’m better. Only thing is, I think it needs a little zing at the end – some pistou, maybe? a round or two of grilled chorizo? Any other suggestions for good soup bling? (Hamish, where are you …)


Olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small red chillies, finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
¼ white cabbage, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 litres chicken stock
1 head broccoli, roughly chopped
1 can tomatoes in juice
1 cup French-style (‘blue’) lentils
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Fry the garlic, onion, chilli, celery, leek, cabbage, capsicum and carrots in batches until well browned.
2. Put the chicken stock in a big pot on the stove and bring to the boil, tossing in all the sautéed ingredients.
3. Add broccoli and tomatoes, and simmer till all vegetables are tender.
4. Retaining stock, remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth (or roughly blended, depending on how rustic you like your texture).
5. Return pureed vegetables to stock and add lentils. Simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes or until lentils are tender (more if you want them falling apart). Season well with salt and pepper.
6. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Or other bling…


  1. how about a thread of olive or, even better, walnut oil? Does it for me

    • ooh, walnut oil!

  2. […] Original post by Charlotte […]

  3. I know what you mean there is nothing like a good hearty soup to get your batteries recharged. I made a lentil stew/soup last week with chorizo. My tip is to use 2 sliced smoked chorizos in the cooking and add two sliced ones that have been grilled or fried on top when serving.

    In fact I’m defrosting the 1/2 we didn’t eat last week tonight.

    You could do some home-made croutons with toasted soda bread rubbed with garlic too?

    • Hi Lissa, that sounds a damn fine idea … garlic croutons. Reminds me of French onion soup, which reminds me that SBS Food Safari the other night was on French food, and there was an exceptionally good-looking bowl of FOS there. Must have another crack at that soon …

  4. Serendipity. I was planning on making a lentil soup, but needed to do a recipe search first, and you’ve saved me the trouble. I’ve fallen in love with lentil soup in the last year or so, courtesy of the yummy one served in my local cafe here in Marrickville (Dana’s in Illawarra Road). Their ‘zing’ at the end is a little thimble full of red wine vinegar, always offered on the side.

    • Loving that zing thing. Must check out Dana’s!

  5. That’s a great sounding soup, and it is always fun to finish dishes with various condiments…one of my favourites, especially with lentils are mustard fruits, sweet with a bit of bite!!!

    The other thing to think about is what can I start the soup base with…collecting parmesan husks is a fun hobby, and can always be thrown into the base of a soup or risotto when you are at the “fry off the onion stage,” just remember to fish them out before blending or serving. Another are prosciutto or pancetta skins or scraps, the same technique applies. Even a good table spoon of harissa thrown into a mirepoix that is frying off for the base of a stock or sauce, will make a great difference to the final result.
    In my opinion, by getting these flavors into the dish early, you generally end up with deeper drawn out flavours at the end, creating more “layers” to the dish! It’s about looking for an extra “zing” at the start as well as the end!!

    • Hurrah! Fab advice – the cheese rind thing at the BEGINNING of a soup (and risotto!) is quite enthralling, as are the mustard fruits at end and the piggy scraps etc so early in the piece. OK, you are now forgiven for your 20kg insanity on the onion post.

  6. Just have to share with you, Charlotte, that yesterday was the first day Maggie Beer disappointed me. I met a friend for lunch at a restaurant in Palm Beach to discover it was byo.
    y friend didn’t want wine but at my insistence we drove to the the nearest bottleo and after deciding to have rose found in the frig amongst all the stock a Maggie Beer sparkling Cabernet in a nice fat bottle for $18.00. Returned to the restaurant where it was opened with an enormous bang and it was then I saw in small writing on the label ‘non-alcholic beverage’. It wasn’t a bad drop and if we hadn’t read the label maybe we wouldn’t have known but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for at the time.

    • Oh my GOD Annie, what a dreadful shock. I can only express my deepest sympathy! What the hell is non-alcoholic beverage doing in the WINE shop anyway!
      By the way we went to a fantastic restaurant in the city last night called Element Bistro, in King St. Really good French food, and very reasonable. Tiny place – I will be putting it on my favourite restaurants page very shortly. And we must tell Maggie not to scare people with fake booze like that.

  7. That sure is one good-looking soup!
    Thank you Charlotte for the suggestion, will let you know how it went when I try to make it! 🙂

  8. It’s certainly split pea and ham hock weather… Boris always adds spek and chorizo to things…I prefer ham bone, less fatty… I have masses of watercress/parsley/rocket… to throw in with the parmsan. Keep well lovely lady. x di

    • Oh Di, watercress! what a brilliant idea. Love a ham bone, recently made a heap of ham stock out of frozen Christmas ham bones! Big love to you miz. xx

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