1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion
1 green pepper
1/2 cup red lentils (cover with water)
1/2 pint chicken or veg stock
1/2 pint milk
1 cup grated cheese and ground black pepper to serve
NB Do not attempt this without the green pepper!!
Chop up all the veg into roughly 1cm cubes. Melt the butter and oil in a large pan, then add all the vegetables. Stir for a minute or so. Add the lentils with their water, the bayleaf and the stock. (To add the stock I chuck the stock cube into the pan, then pour over the boiling water and let them get on with it, but do it whichever way makes you happy).
Stir to make sure none of the lentils are sticking to the bottom. Add the milk and bring to boil. The liquid should cover all the veg. If not, add more water or milk, (or exactly half and half if you like to be precise). Leave to simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks.
It should look like a thick golden stew/soup. If the stock is still quite runny, squish a few potatoes against the side of the pan, then stir them in. Check that you can’t see any lentils, they should have cooked down completely. Remove the bayleaf.
To serve, add a small amout of grated cheese to the bottom of your bowl, then ladle the soup on top. Grind on some black pepper, and if you are hungry, line up some bread and butter for the side.
This soup improves with reheating and freezes well; certainly a recipe that is more than the sum of its parts, very cheap, easy to do and extremely tasty!