This is a wonderfully aromatic and comforting lentil soup, one of my first own recipes, which has remained the same from the first preparation because it turned out perfect, and when the result is so good, there is no reason to alter it.
The concept here is to create a flavourful medium in which the lentils will boil, mingle with the rest of the ingredients, and turn into a thick soup. The only pressure point is that the lentils must not boil rigorously because they will lose their shape and crunch. What you really want is a strong, steady simmer.
Use a medium sized pot that allows for the all the lentils to be enveloped comfortably in the water and move around with ease while boiling. Make sure the water doesn't dry out, gradually adding more if necessary. If at the end, the soup is too watery, turn the heat up and evaporate extra liquid. However, in order to not break down the lentils, it is preferable to start with less water and gradually add, than having to vigorously evaporate in the end.
Finally, both carefully and generously, however contradicting this may sound, add salt throughout the cooking.
If, like me, you prefer your food spicy, add some Sriracha, and / or Chilli flakes, after the deglazing step, with the rest of the ingredients.
In the pot, sauté in a little olive, or other oil:
Onion, 1 medium, cut in small cubes
Red Pepper, 1 pc, cut in small cubes (optionally also add a red chilli for some heat)
Worcestershire Sauce, 1tsp
Carrot, 1 medium, cut length wise in quarters and then in thin slices
Tomato paste, 2 tbsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp
Curry powder, 1 tsp
Orange zest, 1/2 tsp
Brown Lentils, 1 cup
Stir to coat everything well. Then add water, start with 3 cups, and boil gently for about 45 minutes. When the lentils are cooked add :
Orange juice, 1 tbsp
Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp
Taste and adjust final seasoning (salt).
Serve warm with feta or yoghurt on the side or as garnish. Lentils are also commonly served with rice in the Middle East.
Storage: It will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to a week.