3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 C lentils (puy, green, red)
2L water or stock
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3-5 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin seeds, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 bunch spinach leaves (or other greens)
fresh nutmeg (a few shavings over a fine grater)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
yoghurt to serve
Loosely based on friend’s high rotation, mid-week family soup, with some high calabre Moroccan soup references from Sam and Sam Clarke’s cookbook ‘Moro’. A deceptively simple but delicious combination. Great for busy pre-christmas weeks when you can throw on a simple soup, and enjoy the early summer garlic, fresh greens, and some excellent yoghurt.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pot, and cook the finely chopped onion and celery for 5 minutes before adding 3 chopped cloves of garlic and the spices. Stir for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add in the rinsed puy lentils (any quick cooking lentils will do), and the water or stock, a squeeze of lemon, generous salt and fresh cracked pepper. A fresh bay leaf if you have one. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the lentils soften.
Meanwhile braise some roughly chopped spinach greens in a pan with a dash of olive oil and a couple more cloves of thinly sliced garlic. Just stir for a moment on the heat, season with salt and pepper and then turn the stove off. If the soup needs more liquid just add additional water or stock, and adjust the seasoning.
Serve with an extra squeeze of lemon, generous yoghurt and a heap of the garlicky greens on top. If you have a jar of harissa on hand, try popping a dollop in too.