Editor’s note: Please make very welcome Styling You’s food writer. Jennifer Schmidt is a food stylist and blogger at Delicious Everyday. I know you’re going to love what she’s cooking for us.
Nothing beats the feelings aroused when eating a hearty and comforting soup on a cold wet night!
While the weather refuses to cool down here in Brisbane my kitchen has made the transition to slightly heartier and more comforting fare.
Soup is the ultimate in comfort food for me. I grew up on soups.
Growing up in Tasmania the winters were bitterly cold. I have so many memories of my Nan serving piping hot bowls of soup to warm us on even the coldest winter night.
Each weekend she’d make vats of soup, and while I don’t make huge batches of soup, I’ve inherited this comforting tradition by making litres upon litres of vegetable stock each weekend which I portion up and freeze for stock emergencies!
There’s something so reassuring about being able to pull out a litre of stock from the freezer and know that a bowl of soup isn’t too far away!
Just like this gorgeous golden red lentil and sweet potato soup recipe which combines two of my favourite ingredients. Sweet potato and spices.
Vibrantly yellow thanks to the turmeric, it is like a bowl of sunshine you can enjoy on even the gloomiest day.
I’ve used curry leaves in this recipe, however, if you can’t find them you can omit them. TIP: you can often find them in the herb section at Coles and Woolies but your farmers market is the best bet as you’ll get a huge bunch for only a couple of dollars. Curry leaves are worth seeking out as they add a truly wonderful and unique flavour.
So tell me, what is your favourite comfort food?
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- a thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 8 curry leaves
- 1 large sweet potato, weighing roughly 500g, cut into cubes
- 2/3 cup red lentils
- 1-litre vegetable stock
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, plus extra to serve
- TO SERVE:
- 8 curry leaves
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp olive oil
- Grab a large saucepan and place it over a medium-low heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic and a couple of pinches of salt, and cook, for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every now and then so it doesn’t catch, until sweet and golden. Add the spices, mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook until fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the sweet potato, another pinch of salt, and toss in the spices to coat. Add all but the last 100mls of the vegetable stock along with the red lentils. Bring to a boil over a medium heat before reducing to low. Let the soup bubble and blip away for 25 to 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.
- If you have a freestanding blender pour the soup into the jug (you might need to do this in 2 batches) or grab an immersion blender and blend until silky smooth along with 1/2 cup of the coconut milk. Check the seasonings and adjust as necessary. If the soup is thicker than you like add a little more stock until you achieve the consistency you like.
- To serve place a small frying pan over a medium low heat. Add the oil and curry leaves. When the curry leaves start to curl (they’ll also take on an oily matte sort of sheen) add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop remove the pan from the heat.
- Pour the soup into serving bowls and drizzle with extra coconut milk. Divide the curry leaves between each bowl and use a spoon to dollop some of the mustard seeds over the top.
- Serve with crusty bread rolls or garlic flat breads
Jennifer Schmidt is a freelance food photographer and stylist and the author of Delicious Everyday, Australia’s most popular vegetarian food blog. She believes life is too short to eat food that you don’t enjoy and loves creating recipes that celebrate good simple whole food and making the most of the amazingly abundant fresh produce we have available here in Australia. Follow Jennifer on Instagram @deliciouseveryday.