With Winter’s icy arrival, there are few things that bring me absolute comfort. A steaming mug of NoMu’s Hot Chocolate on the couch watching Brothers & Sisters, a hug from my husband and a warm bath are pretty much it. Oh, and of course food! Stews, soups and curries warm me from the inside and makes me incredibly happy. So when I combine a curry and a soup, you better know I’m going to love it. And not only did I love this, my whole family did as well. My sister-in-law said that this was “de-freakin-licious” which is exactly what I wanted to hear.
What makes this recipe even better is that it is relatively simple, produces a lot of food (and it’s so easy to multiply this recipe to feed even more) and it’s very versatile. You can use whichever vegetables you have lying around, you can use canned lentils and you can swop the stewing lamb for boneless leg of lamb cubes or even cubes of lamb steak (if you do this, I suggest you use canned lentils so that the lamb steak doesn’t get over-cooked and stringy). The spice level is also up to your personal preference. I like things hot and spicy, especially in Winter, but if you only want a tongue-tingling warmth, use less chillies. I wouldn’t, however, leave out any of the other spices. They don’t add any heat, just a lovely toe-curling warmth that will remind you that Summer isn’t THAT far away. If you don’t have all these spices in your pantry, try to use a really good quality garam masala or curry paste as a substitute.
To serve, I suggest Roti’s (a Indian sort-of crepe/wrap), Naan bread or crusty Ciabatta. I also made a silky Yoghurt drizzle sauce to top the soup off with, it adds flavour and it calms the heat down, just slightly. And don’t forget to serve this with plenty of fresh coriander (or Italian parsley if like me you can’t stand fresh Coriander), extra chillies and a good squeeze of lemon/lime juice.
1kg (2.2 pounds) boneless stewing lamb / leg of lamb cubes
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
1tbsn ground coriander
1tbsn ground cumin
1tsp ground ginger (0r fresh)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2-3tsp crushed chillies
2 cups red, split lentils
1 tin tomato puree (not paste)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
750ml (25.36 fluid ounces)-1l lamb stock / water (I used NoMu’s Lamb Fond)
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup plain yoghurt
2tsp tikka paste (or other curry paste)
Fresh coriander and chillies to serve
- In a large pot, brown the lamb in vegetable oil. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot, fry the onions, carrots and celery until soft and translucent (approx. 5-7 minutes).
- Add the celery and bay leaf and fry for another minute.
- Add all the spices and fry for 30 seconds. Add the lentils, tomatoes and lamb back into the pot and stir to coat the lamb and lentils with all the spices and vegetables.
- Add the sugar and lamb stock/water and turn the temperature down. Cover and allow to simmer for 45-60 minutes until the lamb is soft and the lentils are cooked. Season to taste.
- For the Yoghurt drizzle, combine the yoghurt with the curry paste.
- Serve the lamb & lentil soup with the yoghurt drizzle, fresh coriander, extra chopped chillies and a squeeze of lemon juice.