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And finally, I return to Hungary.

This lovely warming lentil soup is derived from a Hungarian recipe and uses ingredients brought back from the market in Budapest though can be easily replicated at home. This creates quite a thin soup and the joy is found in the random chunks of veg or meat that find their way onto your spoon. Also, a nice vege version could be achieved simply with winter roots, lentils and smoked paprika or chipotle. Molly loved the less-spicey version.

It’s very basic and it ‘aint pretty to look at but it sure does taste good. It was also extremely pleasing to use the veg in the weekly organic veg box. Enjoy hunched over your bowl on a cold day with large hunks of bread to soak up the smokey broth.

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  • 1 large onion.
  • Smokey sausage of some kind. Chorizo would work well. About a handful, sliced.
  • Smoked streaky bacon, pancetta or lardons. Something to replicate the kind of bacon seen in the photograph. About half a handful.
  • Smoked paprika (or even Chipotle would work well). To taste, depending on how spicy you like it.
  • About 2 cups of brown or red lentils, cooked.
  • About 700ml of good stock.  Chicken or vegetable. You may need more.
  • Carrots and parsnips cut into large chunks.
  • A twist of salt and pepper to taste.


Do the following in one pot for the soup.

Gently fry the sausage and bacon to release the fat, add the onions and sweat til soft, add the paprika, then the stock and lastly the veges.  Cook gently until the carrots and parsnips are done and add the cooked lentils toward the end before serving.  You could cook the lentils in the stock with the vegetables but I worry that it will make the broth too cloudy.  Also, it’s easier to estimate quantities with cooked lentils.