Today I found tired spring onions and some lackluster carrots glaring at me resentfully from the veg rack.Friday is the day of the Phantom's Veg Box delivery. A day of "out with the old, in with the new". So it was use it or lose it time.
I had some stock left over from last night's supper, so soup seemed to be the natural thing to make. I made this today while my wife was in the garden cutting the grass and generally daring the rain to start.The recipe below doesn't take long to make or cook, and is ideal for lunch.
I refer to a "seed-toasting pan". This isn't some special gadget. If you ever have a small old saucepan that has lost its non-stick, or seen better days, don't throw it. Use it for dry toasting seeds such as coriander and cumin for curries, or pine nuts for salads and pesto.
I also refer to a mortar and pestle. Obviously not everyone will have one. I didn't feel up to rummaging for ours. As I am still taking things very easy I just used the end of my rolling pin and a large bowl!
Carrot and Coriander Soup.
10 small carrots, 5 medium or 2 or 3 monsters
3 small or 2 medium onions, or 2 large bunches of spring onions
2 heaped tablespoons of split red lentils
2 pints chicken stock
2 level tablespoons of whole coriander seeds.
2 cloves garlic
Peel carrots and onions. Chop both roughly to the size of Dolly Mixtures.
Wet the bottom of a medium saucepan with olive oil. When hot add onions, and let soften for 5 minutes or so. Then add carrots, stir, and continue to cook gently for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Try not to burn any of the onion.
Meanwhile, put the coriander seeds into the dry seed-toasting pan and heat over a medium gas, shaking the pan every so often. The seeds will darken slightly and give off a nutty smell. This should only take a minute or two. Pour the seeds into the mortar to cool, then grind with the pestle until fairly fine.
Chop the garlic coarsely, and add it and the split red lentils to the veg pan and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Add the crushed coriander to the veg pan, stir, and cook for a minute.
Add the stock, stir, bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the lentils from catching.
Cool slightly, then whiz in small batches in the liquidizer or pass through a Mouli.