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Tamal Ray’s new year basics: sweet potato & lentil soup and sage & onion focaccia – recipe11 Jan 1:00am

Tamal Ray’s new year basics: sweet potato & lentil soup and sage & onion focaccia – recipe

The Guardian
After December’s culinary decadence, it is time for something simple. But that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on nourishment or flavour After a month of eating and drinking ourselves merry, it’s understandable that most of us need a return to simplicity. But simplicity does not mean fad diets or blandness; after all, we are still in the depths of winter. We need something warming and heartening to help ward off the chill and the damp, and what could be better than a nourishing bowl of soup and some crusty, chewy bread? I have never really understood those soups that involve nothing more than boiling a few root vegetables into oblivion. Boiling might break down those tough starches into something more easily digestible, but it does little to bring out flavour. Far better instead is to roast those vegetables, allowing them to char in the blistering heat of an oven and take on a depth of flavour as well as colour. The aim is to roast beyond what you would normally consider well done. They need to be deeply browned and shrunken, to the point at which you would be struggling to say something complimentary if served them at a dinner party. The lack of moisture isn’t a problem for a soup as you can always add more water. Or, if you were particularly thrifty after Christmas and froze some leftover gravy or stock, that would work even better.
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