Easy spicy lentil soup, two ways
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil about 300g leeks (trimmed weight) halved and thinly sliced about 250g carrots (trimmed weight) halved and thinly sliced 1 celery heart trimmed and thinly sliced 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root 1 heaped tsp finely chopped medium-hot red chilli 4 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped 2 x 250g packets of cooked puy lentils (for example Merchant Gourmet brand) 2 tbsp cider vinegar 1 litre vegetable stock sea salt 4 heaped tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley ★ Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the leeks, carrots, celery, ginger and chilli and fry for about 10 minutes until softened and starting to colour, then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes longer. Stir in the lentils, add the cider vinegar and stock. ★ Bring to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Purée a third of the soup in a food processor, stir this back in with the rest of the soup, season with salt and add 4 tablespoons of parsley. WITH HAM HOCK Have ready 120g pulled ham hock or finely sliced lean ham. Serve the soup with a pile of ham in the centre and parsley scattered over. MAKE IT VEGAN Replace the ham with thinly sliced artichoke hearts in oil.