Soup is something of a passion at Avoca and this is one tasty recipe. Great for when the kids come in from school or a family lunch - as it is both filling and bursting with goodness; and absolutely delicious served with some of their famous cheese soda bread
1 large onion chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
½ butternut or similar squash, peeled and chopped
2.5oz orange lentils, rinsed under running cold water
1oz grams butter
2pts vegetable stock
½ red chili, de-seeded and chopped
1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons cream
On a low heat, cook the onions in the butter in a large heavy bottom saucepan until they have started to soften and turn opaque in color, about 8–10 minutes.
Add the vegetables, along with the chili and ginger, and cover with the stock, (you may need a little extra stock depending on the size and shape of your saucepan), ideally all your vegetables should be totally immersed with about 2inches extra stock.
Simmer the soup until the vegetables are fully cooked. Then, immediately add the well-rinsed lentils, bringing back to a simmer and cooking for a further 8-10 minutes by which stage the lentils should have burst and are cooked.
Remove from the heat, add the freshly chopped thyme and liquidize until smooth, you may need to thin out with a little bit of extra stock, a couple of tablespoons of cream is also a lovely addition for a slightly richer texture and flavor.
Avoca’s Cheese Soda Bread
Pre-heat oven to 400ºF.
Simply mix together 1lb of plain flour, with a level teaspoon of sieved bread soda, and a teaspoon of both salt and caster sugar.
Add 3-4oz of grated mature cheddar, and about 1pt of buttermilk and mix gently until it all comes together, no need to knead, just pop it into a loaf tin that you have lined with baking parchment.
Flatten out the top of the loaf with the palm of your hand, and then run a deep line down the center of the bread with an ordinary kitchen knife (this will help your bread to rise evenly in the oven).
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, then remove the loaf from the tin and return to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
* Through its cafés, food markets, and cookbooks, Avoca has led a revolution in Irish food, championing seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients and showcasing artisan food producers. It's a passion born out of its roots in 1723 when Avoca first started weaving its world-famous throws & blankets - and nurtured still in its stores, home-wares, and fashion. Find more of the story at avoca.com. Join the Avoca community on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.