Happy Burns Night! January 25th is, in Scotland, known as Burns Night. It’s when we celebrate our beloved bard, Robert Burns; it’s a celebration involving haggis, neep, tatties and considerable amounts of whisky. So logic would dictate that the following soup involve haggis, and well, everyone has boundaries. Mine involve having haggis soup.
Given that it wouldn’t be unusual to find lentils in haggis (the haggis eat them as part of their extensive grazing diet), a soup involving lentils seems kind of appropriate. This is also pretty much the laziest soup in my repertoire which also seems pretty appropriate — a Burns Supper shouldn’t involve much preparation. Well, I mean, there’s the peeling of the tatties and, okay, so a Burns Supper does involve a bit more preparation but I’m running away with myself here.
Onto the ingredients!
- 1 cup red split lentils
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp/cloves garlic
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp each of coriander leaf and parsley
- ½ tsp each of smoked paprika, coriander seed, ginger, and cumin
A word or two about the ingredients is needed here, I think. I’ve reduced rather drastically the amount of garlic, mustard, herbs and spices. The reason behind this is that I know not everyone likes strong flavours and, well, we all have different versions of how much garlic, for instance, is too much. I generally use way, way more garlic, mustard, herbs and spices.
Put a little oil in the saucepan, and heat the garlic, mustard, herbs and spices for a couple of minutes. Then add water (around 2 litres or a bit more than 2 quarts) and bring to the boil. Add the lentils and cook as instructed (mine were done for 45 minutes as per the packet instructions). Towards the end of the cooking time, add the tomato paste. And — hooray! — we have a lovely pot of soup.
This is a soup that we love to have with a loaf of bread that’s not long out of the oven, but there are lots of ways to enjoy this soup, and finding your own way is all part of the fun!
And so, even if this isn’t quite a traditional Burns Supper, this would be the point to say grace:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.
After that, it’s simply a case of addressing the haggis and tucking in!