Vegetable & Red Lentil Soup with Parsley Pesto

It’s raining, there is a nip in the air, dammit I have coldsores but if anything works it’s a bowl of this soup. Comfort in a bowl, filling and delicious, this cures everything!. I won’t mention I’m off to sunny Miami for work, not gloating, I swear), so to compensate try this, It might almost make up for the Rainy day.
It’s full of nutritious vegetables and the protein power of the lentils as well as the great health benefits of the herbs and spices. The parsley pesto adds an extra dimension to the soup and really enhances the flavour of the spices and lentils. A tiny drop of spiced oil on top might be a nice option to add an extra kick of heat.

Spiced Vegetable & Lentil Soup
5 large carrots
2 leeks
1 white onions
1 red chilli (optional if small children don’t like!)
5 oz red lentils
1 tbsp coriander and cumin seed
4 cardamom pods
2 ltrs good quality vegetable stock
1 tsp turmeric

Roughly chop all the vegetables.
Heat 2 tbsp rape seed oil in the bottom of a large pot, add all the vegetables, stir to coat and sweat under a low heat for about 15 minutes.
Add the dried spices and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the stock and the lentils, stir to ensure nothing catches.
Cover, reduce to a low heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the lentils have turned yellow.
Allow the soup to cool a little and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

For the parsley pesto , chop 2oz parsley and 4 cloves of garlic really finely and stir in the zest of a lemon.
To serve place a large spoon of pesto on top of each portion of soup.

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