Scottish Red Lentil Soup (cooked on a fire if you wish)

Okay – it’s official – my life has been hi-jacked by my job.  It seems to be all I have time for anymore.   But I’m sneaking a quick moment to write a blog-post, and share a recipe.

Here in Maritzburg we seemed to go straight from hot summer weather to chilly winter over-night.  The weather has improved since then, and our glorious autumn days have arrived, but while it was so jolly cold I got back into making soups again.  I do so love a good bowl of soup!

When we were traveling in the UK a couple of years ago, we visited Caithness in Scotland.  Whilst touring the glass factory and buying some gorgeous loot to bring home despite the weight of hand-blown glass pieces, we decided to have lunch at their coffee shop. We chose the traditional Scottish red lentil soup (it was the cheapest thing on the menu for us poor South Africans), and it was absolutely delicious! 

I have been trying to find a similar recipe for a while, finally found one in a tiny booklet of Scottish recipes, which a good friend gave to me.  Some of the recipes in this book are quite horrific, but the lentil soup is perfect, and quick, and I have added it to my list of favourite soups.  With homemade brown bread, or fresh white shop-bought bread, it’s wonderful, but even on it’s own it’s pretty good.

Oh, and it can be made on a fire while camping quite easily – always a plus for me!!

Red Lentil Soup

 A little of oil or butter for frying

1 packet diced bacon

1 large onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 sticks of celery, sliced (leaves included)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 turnip, peeled and diced (optional)

2 cups of red lentils, rinsed but not soaked

kettleful of boiling water 

  • Heat the oil or butter in a large pot (use cast iron over small flames if you’re making this on a fire)
  • Add the bacon and fry until browned
  • Add the onion, celery  and garlic, and fry until translucent
  • Next add the carrots, turnips and lentils, stir thoroughly, then add boiling water to cover the ingredients
  • Put the lid on, and turn down the heat (or keep the flames small), so that the soup simmers gently
  • Top up with water as needed, and cook until the soup is thick, about half an hour
  • Taste to check the seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed

If you are making this on a braai fire, serve in mugs, whilst getting the fire ready to braai a steak.



11 responses to “Scottish Red Lentil Soup (cooked on a fire if you wish)

  1. Bakgat resep….!!


  2. Pingback: Rustic Camp Fire Soup « Fired Up Cooking SA

  3. I love lentils in soup! We are going to Caithness next year to see where the clan Sinclair come from 🙂


  4. I am going to try this, where did you get the turnip?


  5. My husband loves lentil soup, and this is perfect for the next time we go to the Drakensberg.
    LOL @ horrific Scottish recipes 😉


  6. Ooh yummy – what a wonderfully flavourful soup. I could eat soup and stews every night in winter.
    🙂 Mandy


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