Noodle soup with lentils and soured cream (Nigel Slater)

Noodle soup with lentils and soured cream

Serves 4-6
onions 4
olive oil 3 tbsp
garlic 3 cloves
ground turmeric 2 tsp
chickpeas 1 x 400g tin
haricot beans 1 x 400g tin
small brown lentils 100g
vegetable stock 1 litre
butter 40g
linguine or Iranian reshteh noodles 100g
spinach 200g
parsley 30g
coriander 20g
mint 15g
soured cream 250ml

Peel the onions. Roughly chop two of them and thinly slice the others. Warm the olive oil in a large pan set over a moderate heat, add the two chopped onions and fry them for 10-15 minutes till soft and pale gold. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Stir in the garlic and ground turmeric and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

Drain the chickpeas and haricot beans and stir them into the onions together with the lentils and stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring the pan occasionally.

Melt the butter in a shallow pan, then add the reserved sliced onions and let them cook slowly, with the occasional stir, until they are a rich toffee brown. This will take a good half an hour.

Add the linguine or noodles to the simmering beans. Wash the spinach, put it in a separate pan set over a medium heat, cover with a lid and leave it for 3 or 4 minutes until it has wilted. Turn occasionally with kitchen tongs. Remove the spinach and put it in a colander under cold running water until cool.

Wring the moisture from the spinach with your hands then stir into the simmering stew. Roughly chop the parsley, coriander and mint leaves and stir most of them into the onions and beans.

Fold in the soured cream, then ladle into bowls and fold in the remaining herbs and the fried onions.

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