I have spent the better part of this weekend freezing cold. Uncomfortably, unreasonably, unseasonably cold. On Saturday, I stood on Pier 5, at the usually stunning Brooklyn Bridge Park sporting fields, watching my daughter play her lacrosse game. I say 'watch' in the loose sense of the word. To be honest, I couldn't really see that well, through the swirling winds and intermittent rain which blew into my face. Ninety minutes later, we mounted our bikes and rode home in the rain while we lost feeling in our hands.
On Sunday, the sun was shining brightly. We put on our blue and orange, proudly donned our caps and boarded the 7 train to Citifield in Queens for our first Mets baseball game of the season. When we arrived, the sun was still beaming, But so was the wind. For the next three hours, we sat shivering in the stands, while the Mets played terribly and lost to the Phillies. A total lose-lose situation.
Spring, where did you go?
Feeling cold has me craving rich, nurturing, fortifying soups. One pot wonders that instantly warm our bodies from the inside out and bring the feeling back to our limbs. This lentil soup was created from leftovers. It is actually made from the leftovers from one of my favourite salads in Community - smoky baba ghanoush, char-grilled cauliflower and lentil salad. It's incredibly simple and the real revelation is the deliciousness of baba ghanoush in soup - it adds a lovely depth of flavour and clean creaminess, without the density of cream. I'll definitely be using this trick again to add richness to soups.
Lentil and baba ghanoush soup
I used regular green lentils in this recipe, but you could also use cooked puy lentils or even canned lentils. I used the baba ghanouse recipe from Community, omitting the yoghurt. Use dairy-free baba ghanoush to make this dish vegan.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 3 sticks celery
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2-3 cups cooked green lentils
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup babaghanoush, plus extra for serving
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Sea salt and black pepper
Heat oil in a medium saucepan, and then add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and fennel seeds. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
Add the lentil and stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes. When ready, take off the heat and stir through the babaghanoush.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with another spoonful of babaghanoush and sprinkle over the chopped parsley.