Hungry gap soup is designed to make the most of the vegetables which are left at the end of the season and anything that is lurking in the fridge. It will help to minimise waste and uses store cupboard ingredients to make a tasty soup. It requires minimal cooking skills and a good imagination. Use red or green lentils and vary the mix of spices to suit your taste or what is available. If the green lentils have been around for a while, soaking them for an hour or so will reduce the cooking time.
Lentil stock base
- 250g red or green lentils
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 onion finely chopped (or 2-3 shallots)
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp grated ginger or 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1.5 litres water or stock
- Heat the oil and fry the onion of a medium heat for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and dry spices and cook for another 2 minutes
- Add the lentils, tamarind, tomato and ginger, stir well and add the stock
- Simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Watch the liquid levels and add more water if necessary.
- Season with salt and pepper and purée using a hand blender or liquidiser.
- Cool and freeze in 500ml portions or use to make soup
To convert the lentil stock to hungry gap soup heat gently and stir in cooked vegetables. For a substantial soup add root vegetables or beans with leeks, shredded cabbage or kale. For something lighter thin the lentil base by adding more stock and add lightly stir-fried vegetables. Depending on the mixture of vegetables used it may be necessary to adjust the seasoning by adding finely chopped chilli or more ginger. The variations are limited only by your imagination and contents of the kitchen.
Inspired by Denis Cotter.