3mediumbell pepperscut into quarters, pith and seeds removed
3tbspolive, divided into 1 tbsp and 2 tbsp.
¼tspfreshly ground black pepper
1mediumbrown onionfinely chopped
1mediumcarrotpeeled then finely chopped
1stalk of celeryfinely chopped
2cloves of garlicput through a garlic press or finely minced.
1small pinch ofdried chili flakes
2tbsptomato puree (tomato paste)
1litre(4 +⅓ cups) vegetable stock
160g(1 cup) of dried red lentils
¾tspsea saltdivided into 3 quarters.
½tspfreshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 200°C (380°F) fan oven / 220°C (425°F) conventional oven
Place the peppers on a baking tray, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the peppers.Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the peppes halfway through cooking.Once the peppers are slightly charred and soft remove them from the oven. Leave them to cool slightly then peel off the skin and discard.Cut the peppers into chunks.
While the peppers are cooking make the base for the soup.Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan.Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery along with a pinch of salt.Cook over low to medium heat until soft, at least 20 minutes, stirring often. Be careful not to brown the vegetables.
Once the vegetables are soft add the garlic, dried oregano, red chilli flakes and fennel seeds. Cook for a minute then add the chopped peppers and tomato puree and stir well.
Pour the stock into the vegetables, then add the red lentils.Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for around 15 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.Check the seasoning now then blend the soup with a hand-held blender.Serve with some pumpkin seeds or croutons.
Freezing - to freeze, leave the soup to cool, transfer to a freezer suitable container and pop in the freezer. To defrost, take the soup out of the freezer and leave to thaw overnight in the fridge. Heat on the hob until piping hot.
Storing - This soup should be used within 2-3 days. Just transfer to a container once cooled and keep it in the fridge.
Rinsing the lentils - Pour them into a sieve and hold them under a running cold tap. Once rinsed check the lentils for any debris or little stones.
Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool, it is approximate and does not include pumpkin seeds.
Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for best results.