Ah January! Torn between wanting a fresh start and wanting to hide under the duvet…. I’ve been making this soup a lot because it appeals to both of those moods. It is incredibly nutritous but also very warming, filling and comforting. The sweetness of the root vegetables is a perfect compliment to the warmth of the cumin and I find that using cumin seed rather than powder makes the texture more interesting. As you can see from the photo, I didn’t add a lot of liquid so perhaps the high viscosity contributes to the comfort factor!
I have found there are two things that make the flavour extra special, although if you don’t have time for either it will still be good.
1 – home made chicken stock
But don’t worry, if you have a slow cooker and like roast chicken (who doesn’t?) this is the easiest thing in the world. Next time you finish roasting a chicken in your slow cooker, pour the liquid from the bottom of the crock pot into a jar. Cool, refridgerate and then skim off the layer of fat from the top once cold. Tada, you have the tastiest jelly to put into your next soup or into the freezer if you’re not making one that day (I’ve heard some people go more than a day without soup?!).
2 – pan-roast your veggies
If you have time, after frying your veggies in a little oil put the lid on the pan, keep it on a medium heat and leave it for a while, stirring periodically to make sure it doesnt stick too much. This tastes best if you get some gorgeous caramelised bits but it doesn’t endear you to the person doing the washing up. In my opinion, it’s worth it even if you’re doing the washing up yourself as the flavour in the soup is much richer.
What kind of food do YOU like to eat in January? Healthy? Hot and spicy? Simple and comforting?
P.S. As weaning time is fast approaching for souper-baby 2 it occurred to me that this would be great as an early food by omitting the cumin seed and seasoning at the table!
2 small leeks, finely sliced
4 large carrots, chopped
1 medium swede, chopped
around 300g brussels sprouts, halved
handful of red lentils
1 tablespoon cumin seed
Cook the leeks in a little olive oil until they start to turn a more golden colour. Add the other vegetables, the cumin and a little salt and pepper then put the lid on the pan and roast the vegetables over a medium heat for 20 minutes or as long as you can if you’re in a hurry. Return to it every few minutes to move things around and prevent sticking, but you do want to get things a little bitof delicious caramelisation in places as it makes the soup taste SO much better.
Add the lentils, stock and water if required to cover everything in liquid and cook until all of the vegetables are tender. Blitz in the pan with a stick blender and add more liquid if you like.