One of my regular correspondents, dating back to the early days of my Dinner Tonight column in The Times, sent me his favourite soup; ‘I just love it because it is so easy’. He doesn’t claim originality – ‘…there are lots on the web of the same name all very similar’. I had to tweak the recipe because I’d used up all my red lentils, using half a sachet of cooked Puy lentils instead. The result was stunningly good; my apricots were the brown type and so were my lentils, so the soup wasn’t the pretty golden orange colour I imagine it is supposed to be. Do try it, the mealy flavour of lentils with creamy, sweet dried apricots, haunting earthy taste of cumin, sharpness of lemon juice with freshness of parsley combine with potatoes (I used new potatoes which really do taste wonderful) with a chicken stock cube rather than JW’s vegetable stock, is surprisingly wonderful. An absolute winner.
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 30 min
75g red lentils or 125g cooked Puy lentils
75g dried ready to eat apricots
2 dsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
25g flat leaf parsley
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
Wash red lentils and place in a pan with chopped apricots, peeled, chopped and rinsed potatoes, lemon juice, cumin, 1 tsp salt and parsley leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes (mine was ready after 20). Blend with a hand blender or liquidize smooth. Adjust the seasoning with black pepper.