Carrot soup with red lentils and miso, for a rainy afternoon

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A friend is leaving Rome, and came over today for soup and a supportive chat. She is packing up, giving away towels and clothes, emptying her kitchen and getting ready to move to D.C. Quite a life change from Rome, after years here, aside from the practical challenge of fitting nine years of your life into two suitcases. So I made this soup, baked oatmeal bread rolls, and we talked, as the rain bucketed down outside.

I’d seen a lovely recipe for carrot soup with ginger, tofu, scallions and miso, but alas – no fresh ginger, tofu, or scallions in the house. What can I say? The fridge contents are in post-Christmas and pre-holiday mode, but there was some vintage miso paste lurking at the back – voilà! And those red lentils might work as well? I tasted my way, added more miso paste and served it with sour cream and sesame seeds. A very simple soup.

20140118-160952.jpgCarrot soup with red lentils and miso for a rainy afternoon

1 white onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil
500 grammes of carrots
1.5 litres of vegetable stock (I used two stock cubes and water)
salt, to taste
4 tbs miso paste (here, brown miso paste)
2 dl red lentils

To serve, if you wish:
A sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and a swirl of sour cream

20140118-160957.jpgSauté the onion in olive oil for a few minutes or so. Chop the carrots to your preferred size (mine were washed, topped and tailed, but not peeled) Add the chopped carrots, red lentils, 3 tbs of miso paste and stock. (Or stock cubes and water, which is easier….) Bring to a boil,  then reduce heat and leave it to cook gently with the lid on until the carrots have softened. This might take 20-25 minutes or so, depending on how coarsely you chopped your carrots.

Take the pot off the heat. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until it is smooth. Put ot back on the heat. Taste with salt and pepper. Does it need more miso? If you think so, add the last tablespoon. It really depends on how you like it. Serve with sesame seeds, and a little sour cream if you feel decadent.

Notes: This was really tasty, not as sweet as carrot soup can be. The sour cream rounded the flavours off nicely, and the sesame seed crunch was gratifying. This made plenty of soup for three of us, and enough leftovers for a couple of lunches next week. And once it stops raining, I need to plan an Arriverderci Roma evening or two with lots of prosecco for my departing friend. This is not an easy city to leave.

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