Serves: 4 | Cooking time: 45 mins (+ 15 mins preparation) | Difficulty: Not that hard
This warming, chunky, rustic soup won't fail you on cooler days. It pretty much cooks itself so you can throw in all the ingredients and let it simmer while you get on with your day. It's packed with vegetable goodness, lentils and exotic flavours to boot. So comforting and delicious, this will become your cold weather favourite.
Fez lends it a bit of a kick with notes of paprika, chilli and sumac and a gorgeous earthy aroma. The sourdough croutons add a bit of crunch. Serve with warm Turkish rolls or freshly baked bread slices. Or try scooping a dollop of pesto on top just before serving - it adds a bit of zing and colour to this yummy soup.
- Fez spice blend
- 1 large onion, sliced
- Olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 4 celery sticks, sliced
- Tomato puree, 1 tablespoon
- 400g canned plum tomatoes
- A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped to make 1 tablespoon
- Parsley leaves, chopped to make 2 tablespoons
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- Good quality vegetable stock, 1 litre
- 250ml water
- 3-4 slices of stale sourdough (or gluten-free bread if preferred), crust removed and cut into bite sized cubes
- 400g canned lentils
- Basil pesto (for serving)
- Basil or oregano leaves to garnish (optional)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Saute the onion and fennel in a large saucepan on medium heat with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of Fez, mix well and cook for around 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the onion and fennel so they caramelise nicely but don't burn.
- Add the carrots and celery, stir well and keep cooking for another 5 mins to soften the vegetables. Add the tomato puree and cook for another minute or so. Then add the vegetable stock, herbs, sugar and canned tomatoes (and bay leaves if using) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Now add all the water as well. Give it a good stir, cover and let simmer for 30 mins.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180c. Place the bread on a baking sheet with a good lug of olive oil and some salt. Mix well to cover the bread all over and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the bread is nicely golden and dry. Remove from the oven when ready and set aside.
- Add the lentils to the soup and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Stir the bread crutons into the soup just before serving. Ladle into bowls, scoop a tablespoon of pesto per serving on top and scatter some basil or oregano leaves to garnish. Enjoy with some fresh bread rolls on the side or a slice of rustic bread.