This is not a recipe for a fish soup in the light Mediterranean or Asian style – lentils form the body, the fish adds more flavour, and it is the type of warming, filling soup that sticks to your ribs and demands some crusty bread to mop it up.
This homemade lentil soup with fish will beat anything you can buy in a tin, as indeed will all homemade soups. It should come as no surprise that I am posting this the day after my Easy Poached Fish recipe: I mentioned that I would be serving it with lentils, and ended up with leftovers of both – I love leftovers recipes. If you don’t have leftovers, you can make it from scratch, referring to two of my previously posted recipes.
Timing: if using leftovers (or canned lentils), around ten minutes. If starting from scratch, about an hour – mainly taken up by the lentil cooking time.
Ingredients: (serves four)
8oz/225g (pre-cooked weight) quantity of cooked lentils as in this recipe. Or you could use canned lentils, total quantity 1lb/450g.
1 or 2 poached fish fillets, any kind, as in this recipe, skins removed.
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced/crushed (even if you used garlic in original lentil cooking, a bit of fresh garlic added here towards the end of the cooking adds a nice zing to the soup)
Salt and pepper if necessary
Some crusty bread, or rolls: it’s almost compulsory with this kind of soup.
Simmer the cooked lentils in a pan and add enough boiling water to loosen. Even if you thought your lentils were already fully cooked, they seem to have the ability to soak up an unlimited amount of liquid, so be prepared to top up the water as you go. Once the lentils are really breaking up, add the minced garlic then either tip the contents of the pan into a blender/food processor and whiz until fairly smooth (a bit of texture is good, though), then return to the pan, or use a stick blender directly in the pan.
Continue to simmer for a few minutes to cook out the raw garlic. You’ll probably need to add a little more boiling water now, to get the soup to the consistency you like (I think it should be fairly thick, but it’s your choice). Flake the fish into the soup, removing any last bones as you go, and allow to warm through. Here you have the choice of blending again, or leaving the flakes of fish; your call.
Add more water if necessary and check for seasoning. Serve with the crusty bread.
You could add some chopped herbs, either blended in or as a garnish when serving, a squeeze or two of lemon juice, a little milk or cream, chopped chilli. Ground cumin goes very well with lentils. Use part or all fish stock instead of water, if you have it.