Some soups bring momentary enjoyment, but are quickly forgotten. I have made so many soups that just are not worth sharing with you, but I like to share soups that look and taste sensational. When I first saw a Waitrose recipe card detailing this soup, I was not particularly enticed for some reason. However, when I finally went ahead an made it, I was so impressed. What a superstar soup this turned out to be. The two big highlight were undoubtedly the ras el hanout, and those carrots roasted with maple syrup. I also think the lemony yogurt was a fantastic garnish.
100g red split lentils, thoroughly rinsed
500g pack Chantenay carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large leek, trimmed, halved and finely sliced
2 tbsp ras el hanout
1 litre vegetable stock
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp maple syrup
1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
4-6 tbsp non-dairy yogurt alternative
Small handful coriander leaves and a pinch of zaatar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 220ºC, gas mark 7. Soak the lentils in a bowl of water. Meanwhile, slice 3/4 of the carrots into rounds and cut the rest in half length-ways.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat for five minutes, then add the leek and carrot rounds and sweat for another five minutes. Add the ras el hanout and cook for a minute more, then stir in the drained lentils and the stock. Simmer for thirty minutes or until the lentils are soft.
Meanwhile, toss the halved carrots with the remaining ½ tbsp oil on a small nonstick baking tray and roast for ten minutes. Toss with the cumin, maple syrup and a pinch of salt and roast for another ten minutes until caramelised. In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest and non-dairy yogurt alternative with a pinch of salt.
Squeeze the lemon juice into the soup and season if needed. Divide between bowls, topping with the lemon yogurt, carrots, coriander leaves and a pinch of zaatar.