Carrot and Coriander Soup with Soya Beans and Quorn…

This recipe doesn’t quite work, see https://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/not-happy-with-this-recipe/ for a fix. It works.

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This is a rather more complex version of Carrot and Coriander which, while tasty, has a basic design fault in that it is low in protein, and I need it in spades.

To remedy that I’m adding organic split red lentils, and organic, pre-cooked, soya beans with a litre of their stock (not high in taste but it will have some useful protein). It’s also getting some Quorn Family Roast, arguably their best attempt at pretend chicken and, at 16.6% protein, a veggie’s friend.

The carrot side will be taken care of by 450g, unpeeled weight, of Sweet Spear that I’ve already dehydrated (dry weight a mere 35g), and crushed to crumbs – the theory being that it will enable me to cram in more carrot flavour. Coriander will stick with the usual script as a mix of fresh leaves and freshly-ground seed, about a third of each held back until the soup is almost finished, to freshen up the flavour.

Stock will be mainly vegetable with a touch of chicken (for a veggie version just omit the chicken stock and increase the veg).

Traditionally, this is a smooth soup, blitzed in a blender. I prefer texture in mine, so the carrots (and the bit of swede I had left

over), are grated. Your call, but if you blitz it, do it before you add the beans and Quorn.

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And so, on to the recipe (this is quite a robust soup, intentionally so as it’s still Winter here in darkest Wirral):-

As ever, this makes 4 litres. If you’re making less, scale down the beans and Quorn as they’re the bulkiest items.

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300g Organic split red lentils

600g Cooked soya beans

1 litre of Soya bean stock, hot, or hot water

4 fat (or 6 smaller), Echalion shallots or 4 brown cooking onions, finely chopped

450g Sweet Spear carrots, thinly sliced and dehydrated, then reduced to crumbs (put them in a plastic bag and beat with a rolling pin or whiz briefly in a food processor). I actually gave them a going-over with a pestle and mortar, then rubbed them between my hands until I had an even texture

or

4 fresh Sweet Spear, coarsely grated

A piece of swede, about the size of a baby’s fist, coarsely grated (optional – I just happened to have a piece that needed using while still fresh and crisp)

50g Coriander leaves, finely chopped; the finer, softer stalks can go in too (feel free to use more or less, depending on how much you like it – though if you don’t like it why are you making this?) Hold about a third of it back until the end

3 teaspoons Ground Coriander (two in at the start, one held back until the end)

35ml Olive oil

20g Butter

3 Kallo organic veg stock cubes**

2 Knorr chicken stock cubes**

2 teaspoons Marigold Bouillon Powder to taste**

½ a Quorn Family Roast, cooked as described below, added towards the end

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes and Schwartz Black Pepper to taste, at the end

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**Add these once the lentils are cooked.

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Quorn Family Roast:-

To cook the Quorn Family Roast pierce the film with the point of a sharp knife then wrap tightly in foil, with the firmly folded closure on top, and the ends tightly twisted. The reason for this is that if you follow the pack instructions a lot of liquid – and thus flavour – will leak out, evaporate, and burn. I’m hoping that by wrapping it in foil any leakage will be retained, won’t burn (as it can’t first evaporate), and no flavour will be lost.

And it worked perfectly – no burnt-on gunge. No leakage at all, in fact. I gave it an extra 10 minutes cooking time to allow for the fact that foil can reflect some heat away, and didn’t reduce the time for the fan either.

I left it in the foil until it was cool enough to handle, and it emerged perfectly cooked with no sign of burning at all. It’s a tad pallid, but so is chicken, but you could brown it in a little oil and butter in a frying pan if you wished. As it’s destined for soup, I won’t bother.

And here’s a tip before I forget. I use a high-density polyethylene chopping board for all my prep as it doesn’t absorb taints and is easily sterilised with Milton. It does have a drawback when prepping veg, though, as the slightly textured surface is very hard to keep free of debris – it clings to it (bits of chopped herbs and whiskery onion or shallot roots are the worst offenders. The answer, as I’ve just now discovered, is a stiff vegetable brush – it whisks away the rubbish in seconds.

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Method:-

Melt the butter/heat the oil then sweat the onions or shallots over a low heat until soft.

I find that organic split red lentils are cleaner than ordinary, and free from dust (I use several different brands and they are all the same), so I don’t usually wash them, which makes the next step more effective – stir two teaspoons of the ground coriander into the oil-butter-allium mix, followed by the lentils, and stir until thoroughly coated, increase the heat a little and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, then pour over a litre of hot stock if you have it, or hot water if not. This step will ensure the lentils are silky-smooth and not gritty in the finished soup. Stir well, add another half-litre of boiling water along with the carrots, swede if using, and two thirds of the coriander leaf, bring all to the boil, stir well, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep an eye on it, and stir occasionally – the lentils can absorb the water very quickly, and burn if you take your eye off the ball.

When the lentils look fluffy and are starting to dry out, add another half-litre of boiling water, stir, and leave to carry on simmering until the veg are cooked (it won’t take long if they’re grated). Stir occasionally – lentils are buggers for sticking.

While you’re waiting, unwrap the Quorn, cut it in half and bag one half for future use – freeze it when cold (it’s been cooked so refreezing it is perfectly safe). Cut the other half into quarters lengthways, then cut across into triangular slices, before roughly chopping (it’s actually easier to slice it before chopping – honest!).

Once the veg are soft, add the beans and the Quorn, top up with boiling water, in which you’ve dissolved the stock cubes, not quite to the maximum mark (always leave a little leeway for late additions, like more water if you over-salt it), bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes to reheat beans and Quorn.

Then add both the remaining corianders, stir, continue simmering for a few minutes then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little, before checking the seasoning. Adjust as needed and, if you feel it needs more flavour add a little Marigold or grate in a Knorr chicken cube to taste.

I usually tell you to cook out the additional stock cubes/powder but it’s occurred to me that as it will be reheated the following day that step isn’t really essential.

So, anyway, once it’s to your taste (3 Kallo cubes, 2 Knorr and a little Marigold suits my taste, yours might be different; just remember you’re flavouring quite a lot of water and that Kallo and Marigold are very light), allow to cool and, when cold, refrigerate and allow all the flavours to do their foodie porn thing away in the dark – you’ll thank them for it.

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I’m going for 3 Spoonie spoons for this as there’s nothing particularly demanding. My aim, ultimately, is to have a stock of dehydrated veg, put up on the good days. It won’t mean I can cook every day, but it will mean that when I can, it won’t tip me into a crisis.

That’s the plan anyway.

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