A warming, nearly fat-free soup that's packed with flavour. Perfect for chilly evenings.
1 Tbsp harissa paste
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & black pepper
100g bread, cubed
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sunflower/canola oil
1 mild red chilli, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, crushed
1.25 litres chicken or vegetable stock
150g red lentils
200g baby spinach leaves
fresh lemon juice
Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Mix the olive oil and harissa, add salt and pepper to taste, then toss the bread cubes in the mixture to coat. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp, shaking the sheet a few times to ensure even crispness.
Heat the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan untill aromatic (watch them as they burn easily), then crush to a powder with a pestle and mortar.
Add the vegetable oil to a pan and saute the shallot for five minutes or so unti translucent but not browned. Add the cumin, chilli and garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.
Pour in the stock and add the lentils. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils break down. Stir in the spinach until wilted, give the soup a quick whizz with an immersion blender, then add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve hot, topped with the harissa croutons.
Recipe by Cooksister at http://www.cooksister.com/2013/02/red-lentil-soup-with-harissa-croutons.html