Lentil & vegetable soup with cheese straws
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- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 500g peeled, cubed butternut squash (flesh only)
- 500g peeled, cubed sweet potato
- 150g sliced carrots
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 75g split red lentils
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
- 150g reduced-fat crème fraîche
- Black pepper & cheese straws
- 225g plain flour
- ¼ level tsp mustard powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 150g chilled salted butter
- 50g grated mature Cheddar
- 50g grated Parmesan
- 15g extra Parmesan for sprinkling on top
- 2 large free-range eggs
Heat 2 tbsp sunflower oil in a pan and cook 1 chopped onion until soft. Add 1 finely chopped garlic clove and cook for another minute.
Add squash, sweet potato, carrots and vegetable stock cube, dissolved in 700ml hot water. Heat until simmering.
Rinse red lentils in a sieve under cold running water. Drain and add to the pan with parsley, thyme and tomato purée. Heat until simmering again.
Cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are really tender.
Cool for 20 minutes, then purée the soup in a blender or processor until smooth enough to drink from a mug. You may need to add a little water.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Line two baking trays. Sift flour, mustard powder and cayenne pepper into a bowl.
Cube butter, add to the flour, then rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in Cheddar and Parmesan.
Beat 2 eggs and add about half to the flour and butter. Mix with a round-bladed knife until it starts to form clumps. Gather with your hands to form a stiff, but not sticky, dough. Flatten, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2cm thick. Cut into 1cm x 12cm straws, put on the trays, with a gap between each.
Brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with 15g grated Parmesan. Bake for 12-15 minutes until pale golden brown. Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes. Move to a wire tray to finish cooling.
Stir crème fraîche into the soup and reheat. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve in mugs with the cheese straws.