The Daily Spud

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Spud Sunday: Christmas, Digested

Frosty Christmas Morning

Frosty Christmas Morning

Everything outside was beautifully befrosted this Christmas morning. Inside, however, Santa clearly wasn’t sure whether I had been good or not this year.

Having just about regained my appetite in time for the biggest meal of the year, a power cut early on Christmas day looked like it might put the kibosh on all attempts to cook it. Thankfully, the electricity repair man angel stepped in and saw to it that everyone in the locality had the power to fuel their feasting (not to mention their colouredy Christmas lights).

So, following an interlude where we contemplated sandwiches for dinner, the lights returned and it was suddenly hell for leather in the kitchen – the Ma on meats and pudding and myself on stuffing, bread sauce, brussels sprouts, roasted carrots, parsnips and onions and, of course, my signature roasties. Heaving platefuls finally served and consumed by the troops with cranberry sauce, redcurrant jelly and general gusto, followed by trifle and pudding, for which there is never any room but which everyone eats anyway. And afterward, the inevitable retirement to the couch to snooze in front of the telly and digest. Unmistakeably Christmas.

Feeling Better Already Potato and Lentil Soup

On the road to recovering from pre-Christmas dodgy stomach syndrome, I got to the stage where soup was the only thing that would do. This is what I made for myself on Christmas Eve and knew I was on the mend when I went back for seconds. Eating Christmas dinner the next day suddenly seemed possible.

It’s a simple soup and an easy one to remember – just equal weights of potatoes, red lentils, onion and carrot, plus some garlic, spices, seasonings and water or stock. It’s good for what ails you.

Potato, Lentil and Carrot Soup

You’ll need:
  • olive oil for frying
  • 150g onion (about 1 medium-sized specimen), finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 150g carrot (1 large), finely sliced
  • 150g potato (1 small-ish spud), peeled and diced
  • 150g red lentils, rinsed in several changes of water
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 800ml water or light vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste (less if using stock that’s already salted)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • squeeze of lemon juice (around 1 tsp or to taste)
You’ll also need:
  • A blender or food processor for blending the soup – an immersion blender is the handiest.
The Steps:
  • Place a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat and, when hot, add oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the pan. Stir and fry for about 3 minutes, until just starting to soften, then add the carrot and stir and fry for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, lentils, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt and stock or water. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for around 30 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  • Remove from the heat and blend until smooth. It will be fairly thick, so add some hot water if you’d prefer a thinner soup and reheat gently.
  • Taste and add more salt if needed, plus a couple of twists of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Grab a ladle, serve yourself a bowl, along with a dollop of natural yoghurt or sour cream if you feel so inclined, and let the soup do its magic.
The Variations:
  • If I’d had them to hand, I would have toasted about a teaspoon of cumin seeds and added them to the soup right at the very end of proceedings.
The Results:
  • Serves 3-4

20 Comments

  1. I’m glad you’re feeling better!! That was unfortunate the power had gone out. Never a fun thing especially on a holiday. But I’m glad you were able to make you Christmas feast despite the minor setback.

  2. Do you remember the Christmas of 1997? I think that was the year that there were electricity cuts throughout the country. We ended up cooking our turkey at my Gran’s house, 10 miles away, visiting every so often to baste it! Lunch was late that year…

  3. Daily Spud

    Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    jenn: Thanks – all’s well that ends well, as they say :) Hope you had a lovely Christmas yourself.

    Caroline: Funny, we were just talking about that! I think we got off relatively lightly where we were – no such trojan basting efforts required :)

  4. So glad you are feeling better. What a crazy Christmas you had! I’m so glad to hear that, even if hectic, you were able to throw everything together. Oh, I can’t imagine a Christmas without cooking. :)

  5. Oh I know I read the other post, and funny, but I also made a pot of lentil soup I have been eating on for a few days now…good ole’ lentils and mine had a few spuds…

    The photos are beautiful!

    Sorry to hear about the electricity, that happened in NY up here before we moved this way…

  6. Ho Ho Ho I love the story! And no matter what anguish was gone through you have lived to tell the tale and a tale we can all laugh at! The dinner sounds fabulous! And this soup is perfect for us! I must try this one, everyone will really love it! Happy Holidays my dear friend!

  7. I thought of you whilst I did my xmas day roasties! I was cursing myself for not re-reading your post beforehand but they turned out ok.

  8. I’m sure you knew that lentil soup is traditional french xmas dish, so good to see you got to thinking lentils on the eve:) I made a very similar soup in fact but with puy lentil for starters for my xmas dinner – very simple, very appropriate in the hectic madness of xmas cooking!

  9. This soup looks marvelous! I’ve been on a major soup kick lately, and will definitely give this a try. Glad to hear that you bounced back in time for the feast. Have a happy New Year!

  10. Hooray! You recovered in time :)I’d be feeling better too after eating that gorgeous soup. And I’m printing out the recipe for your signature roasties. Happy New Year!

  11. I swear, not much tops a good bowl of winter soup – its a wonderful cure-all. Yours sounds marvelous and I am glad to hear you recovered to celebrate the holiday and consume the goodies. Two things I try to accomplish on an annual basis.
    Also, what gorgeous wintery pictures. OF course, now I need an extra blanket to cuddle in cause I feel suddenly cold, but so worth it.

  12. Ah, glad to hear you’re feeling better, Spudness. Also glad to hear that you share my enthusiasm for cumin. I think I might make this tonight – Hubby works opposite a farm shop and came back with 2kg of vegetables for £2 so I might bung a few more veg in for good measure! x

  13. A georgous & ooh so festive soup, Daily spud!! A Happy new year to you & your family!!!

    MMMMMMMMMMM,…just so lovely!

  14. Lori: I know, a Christmas without cooking would be, well, not entirely Christmas!

    Chef E: thanks and I hope your own lentil soup has been doing the trick for you…

    Jamie: …and happy holidays to you too, certainly hoping to see you in 2010!

    Sarah: glad to hear they turned out ok – the roastie Gods were looking after you, clearly :)

    Katrina: ah, I didn’t actually know that lentil soup was a traditional French Christmas dish – maybe I have some French genes that I didn’t know about :D

    Phoo-D: Thanks, was very glad myself to have bounced back! Enjoy the soup, it’s real winter fare.

    Phyllis: I recovered, but how was your cracked tooth? Hope it didn’t affect your holiday eating (I guess it didn’t if you’re planning on making signature roasties… :) )

    Oyster Culture: it’s definitely weather for being inside and cosy, with full access to holiday goodies!

    English Mum: oh gosh, yes, cumin – it’s one of my favourites and a very nice potato partner; and glad to hear via twitter that the soup was enjoyed!

    Sophie: …and a very Happy New Year to you too Sophie (or should I say Soup Queen herself? :) )

  15. Lovely looking soup….love the snow tipped photos too and glad you could make it out of bed in time for the great Xmas meal. Have a blessed 2010.

  16. Daily Spud

    Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Aw, thank you Kitchen Butterfly. I hope your 2010 is wonderful in all respects and perhaps we will get to meet again and for longer sometime in the coming year.

  17. Your recuperative soup is welcome well after Christmas – I’m battling jet-lag and a lingering cold, all amidst an unusually frigid (even for Minnesota) cold snap. Love potatoes in thick, creamy soups but I also love the texture of lentils. May I please keep some unblended?

  18. Daily Spud

    Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    For you, TN, anything – of course you may keep some unblended! Hope you manage to rid yourself of your lingering cold soon. I daresay your Minnesota cold snap is rather colder than our current Irish cold snap, though I suspect we are not coping as well with it.

  19. Those pictures are beautiful, but the recipes look even better!I can’t wait to try some of your ideas! Thanks a million!

  20. Daily Spud

    Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    And thanks for stopping by, Caroline. Enjoy!

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