Sunday, 15 January 2012

Roasted pepper, tomato and red lentil soup with crisp chorizo and black garlic

It's no secret I've been ill this week. I've tried to keep a lid on my moaning but lets be honest, when you're feeling rotten that can be a difficult task. 

However, today I woke up feeling much better than I have been doing, and to celebrate this and my sore throat leaving me I decided to take a walk. My travels in Didsbury predictably took me round the charity shop circuit, where I chanced upon some cute little plates and bone handled knives and forks, all tarnished and loved looking. I snapped them up immediately. 

To go with my bargain buys I decided to make a bargain dinner. This soup is very easy and economical but still has some extra added interest in the form of the black garlic. I used it to finish the dish, adding it to the top of the soup along with some more crispy chorizo. 

Black garlic is a recent discovery in our house and it's one that's set to stay. It really is jet black, and you can eat it straight from the bulb. It's rather curious, squidgy and sweet, tasting like a cross between licorice and pickled onion. Yes I realise that flavour combo sounds vile, but it's honestly quite tasty and moreish, buy some and see what you think. 

For two:
600g fresh tomatoes - any kind you like but make sure they're red
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered 
1 fat clove of regular garlic, peeled 
2 roasted red peppers - roast your own until they begin to char or used ones from a jar
3 handfuls red lentils, brought to the boil from cold water then drained and set aside, reserving 300mls of their cooking water
A small glass of red wine
1 tsp red wine vinegar / rice vinegar 
3 cooking chorizo, peeled, diced and fried in a dry pan until they char at the edges
2 cloves of black garlic, skin removed and finely sliced - you'll find black garlic in Sainsburys next to the regular garlic
2 tablespoons creme fraiche 
Virgin olive oil 
500mls water - more if you like your soup more loose, less if you like it thicker 
Extra virgin olive oil 
Sea salt and black pepper

- Preheat your oven to 200degrees
- Place the tomatoes, red onion and regular garlic into a roasting pan, give a liberal douse of olive oil, scrunch of seasoning and place into the oven for 45 minutes, giving an occasional shake - you're looking for them to colour up nicely but not turn totally - see pic above for a guide
- Whilst cooking place the roasted red peppers, half the chorizo, red wine and vinegar into a food processor, once the tomatoes and onions are ready remove them from the oven, pop them into the food processor too and blitz
- The soup is pretty rustic but still a relatively smoothish consistency, if you like yours much thinner, simply pass through a sieve after
- Pop the soup mix into a deep bottomed saucepan and onto a medium heat, add the remaining water, lentils and their reserved cooking water, and cook for around 8 minutes with the lid on and on a medium heat until cooked through
- Ladle into bowls, top with the creme fraiche, a glug of your favourite extra virgin olive oil, the remaining diced crisp chorizo and black garlic slices - eat with some warm bread and a glass of your favourite 

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