As the temperature falls (and the leaves do too!) soups seem to be just the thing… this one is really tasty featuring mushrooms and lentils – you can use brown or green lentils, we used a combination of the two. Really easy to make, it is like a flavourful homemade mushroom soup stock, cooked lentils and seared mushrooms added at the plating stage. You can add something creamy if you like (e.g. soy cream, coconut cream, cashew cream) or just enjoy as is with some great chewy bread. I made it yesterday for our kindergarten and they ate it up with great gusto, accompanied with avocado on sourdough rye toast. The little girl next to me asked, “more mushrooms please” each time she emptied her little soup bowl.
Lentil Mushroom Broth
Tbsp = Tablespoon 15ml, tsp = teaspoon 5ml, cup = 250ml
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 228g dried lentils (green and/or brown)
- 320g button mushrooms
- 140g onion, peeled
- 250g carrots, peeled
- 1400ml water
- 3 cloves garlic = 15g
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt
- 200g button mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
Cooking the Lentils:
- Firstly set the lentils cooking. Place in a saucepan, cover with cold water, about two thumb thicknesses above the lentils. Place lid on, place on a high heat and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling turn down to a simmer, leaving lid on and let the lentils simmer for around an hour until very soft. Keep an eye on the water level, add extra water as needed to keep them covered.
- Once they are cooked pour them into a colander to drain.
Preparing the Broth:
- Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth, and slice thinly in a food processor with the slicing attachment, or just with a knife.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes.
- While the mushrooms are frying roughly chop the onion, carrots and garlic. I find it easiest in the food processor, as these ingredients will be discarded at the end of cooking so they don’t have to look beautiful.
- Add the onion, garlic and carrot to the pan and fry them off for a few minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Add the water, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and 2 tsp of salt.
- Cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer, remove the lid, and let it boil gently for 30-40 minutes. It should reduce by about 1/3. In this time the flavour will really develop, don’t rush this step.
- Strain the broth into a fresh saucepan, press the vegetables into the strainer so none of that delicious broth is wasted. Discard the vegetables/thyme.
Assembling the Soup:
- Add the drained cooked lentils into the saucepan of broth, and place over the heat until it comes to the boil. Taste test once you have added the lentils, as they are not seasoned at all. The broth should be tasty, but not salty. Add a little more salt if needed.
- Meanwhile finely slice the 200g of mushrooms. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the sliced mushrooms, spreading them out well. Sprinkle with salt. Allow them to sear well, they should get good colour on the first side before turning them. You want delicious, tasty, golden, well seasoned hot mushroom slices, this brings the soup to life.
- Place one quarter of the fried mushrooms in the centre of each serving bowl. Ladle the hot lentil broth around the tasty mushrooms.
- Serve with good chewy toast. Enjoy!