Lentil, carrot and cumin soup

Serves 4

Perfect as a simple mid-week supper.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
3 sprigs of thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp cumin, roasted and pounded until fine
200g/7oz lentils
1 litre/13/4 pints of chicken stock or water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the oil in a heavy-based pan on a low heat; add the carrots, celery, onions, chilli, garlic and herbs.

Cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, but not browned.

Add the lentils, stir thoroughly, then pour over the water or chicken stock.

Cook for 30 minutes until there is little liquid left in the pan.

Season well, and serve in warm bowls with warm peasant-style bread alongside.

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