Golden lentil soup

This velvety smooth soup owes its rich colour to a combination of lentils, parsnips and carrots. With dry sherry and a horseradish–flavoured cream adding to the flavour, it is a perfect first course for a dinner party. Serve it with crunchy Melba toast or oatcakes.

Golden lentil soup


  • 1½ tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 500 g parsnips, cut into small cubes
  • 350 g carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 150 ml dry sherry
  • ⅓ cup (90 g) red lentils
  • 1.25 litres vegetable stock, preferably homemade light or rich
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated horseradish, from a jar
  • 6 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • fresh chives


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onion, stir well and cover the pan.
  3. Sweat the onion over a gentle heat for 10 minutes or until softened.
  4. Stir in the parsnips, carrots and sherry.
  5. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan again and leave to simmer very gently for 40 minutes.
  6. Add the lentils, stock, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan.
  8. Simmer for a further 15–20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  9. Purée the soup in a blender until smooth or use a handheld blender to purée the soup in the pan.
  10. Return the soup to the pan if necessary, and reheat it gently until boiling.
  11. If it seems a bit thick, add a little stock or water.
  12. Stir the grated horseradish into the crème fraîche.
  13. Snip some of the chives for the garnish and leave a few whole.
  14. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each portion with a spoonful of the horseradish cream.
  15. Scatter snipped chives over the top and add a few lengths of whole chive across the top of each bowl.
  16. Serve at once.

Serves 6
Preparation: about 15 minutes
Cooking: about 1¼ hours


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