The slow cooking of the soffritto (sauteed onions and carrots) brings an earthy sweetness and gives the soup a warm Hue.
I feel fairly confident if I checked the contents of most vegetable drawers one produce item I would almost always find would be carrots. They are available all year round – I particularly love the spring carrot bunches – are super versatile and can be used in soups and stews, roasted, grated into salads and even used in cakes. Carrots also make a healthy but not too filling snack when my children come asking for food at 5pm when dinner is not far off.
The slow cooking of the soffritto (sautéed onions and carrots) in the soup recipe brings an earthy sweetness and gives the soup a warm Hue. It is a soup of many elements but they all work well together.
In this soup I take one Lonely uncooked lamb chop remaining from a meal, and turn it into a Thrifty meal bulked out by red lentils, grains, and of course carrots. The small amount of meat brings flavor but where it would normally be served to one person it now stretches to feed four.
It is unlikely you will find one lamb chop at the store (unless you go to a butcher and select your own) but the extra chop / s on the tray can be frozen singularly to make this soup again. Because it is a goodie – I made it twice this last week.
Carrot, lamb & red lentil soup
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1-1½ hours
1 lamb shoulder chop, about 250g
6 cups (1.5 liters) of water
1 bay leaf
½ cup (100g) red lentils
⅓ cup (70g) quinoa or brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (about 150g), chopped
2 large carrots (about 250g), grated
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Large handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Put the lamb chop, water and bay leaf into a large saucepan, cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 40-50 minutes until the lamb is very tender. You can also use a pressure or multi-cooker to make the lamb broth, choosing the “meat” option – mine took 20 minutes.
- Use tongs to transfer the cooked lamb to a bowl. Cover and set aside.
- Wash the red lentils and quinoa or rice in a sieve then add to the broth and continue to cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frypan, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes until beginning to caramelise. Add the peppers, cumin and tomato paste and stir over the heat for 1 minute. Add the sautéed carrot mixture to the saucepan of Simmering lentils and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
- Use 2 forks to shred the meat from the lamb bone and add the meat to the soup along with half of the chopped parsley.
- Now check out the flavor and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. The soup flavor improves over a few hours as the Flavors mingle. If you can, make it ahead of time then reheat to serve – you will be well rewarded.
- Ladle hot soup into bowls and scatter with extra fresh parsley to serve.