Brrrrrr! Winter has definitely arrived Jon Snow! The snow is falling in these here hills and soup season is upon us. I’m tucked up fireside with a big bowl of Chicken Lentil Soup to keep me warm.
This is a delicious soup for the colder months; filling, nutritious and packed with healthy, tasty veg and tender chicken. It’s super frugal too so you can feed a crowd without putting a big dent in your wallet.
To make my Chicken Lentil Soup recipe you’ll need the following simple ingredients:
- LENTILS: Green or brown lentils will work in this recipe. I use dried because I always have them in the pantry and they cook at the same time as the chicken, but canned lentils will work as well, you just have to add them a little later in the cooking time.
- CHICKEN: Is there anything more heartwarming than chicken soup? I use thighs or drumsticks in this recipe as the meat can hold up to the longer cooking time and is packed with flavour. If you are using chicken breast, add them in the last 15 minutes of simmering time. That way they will be perfectly tender and delicious, but if you want juicy chicken, go with thighs.
- CARROT, CELERY AND ONION: This classic trio forms the base of the soup. Cut them into bite-sized pieces for easy eating.
- GARLIC: Not just good for chasing away vampires, garlic is wonderful in winter to help keep colds and flu at bay. Use as much or as little as you like, but go for at least two big juicy cloves.
- TOMATO: Canned tomatoes add body and flavour to Chicken Lentil Soup. PRO TIP: I always buy whole peeled tomatoes and use a pair of scissors to chop them in the can. This way you don’t end up with lots of curly little bits of tomato skin in the final dish.
- HERBS AND SPICES: I keep it simple in this recipe, a dash of cumin, paprika and oregano with a couple of bay leaves, fresh if possible (yes! Fresh bay leaves taste amazing!) You can totally experiment to suit your tastes! Like it spicy? Add cayenne pepper. Fancy a curried flavour? Add a spoonful of garam masala or other curry powder.
- CHICKEN STOCK / BROTH: A good soup relies on a base of stock or broth. This soup will still be delicious if you use powdered stock or stock cubes, but if you have homemade chicken broth, go for it.
The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
My Chicken Lentil Soup is so easy to make as long as you follow some simple steps.
- First, blanch your lentils by covering them with cold water, bringing them to a boil and refreshing them under cold water. This is a fab trick I learned at Le Cordon Bleu, and it means the lentils cook super quickly.
- Next, sauté the vegetables in butter until tender, then add herbs, spices, tomato and stock. Return the lentils to the pan, nestle the chicken thighs into the liquid and simmer for 35-45 minutes.
- To serve, remove the chicken thighs, shred the meat from the bones and stir it back into the hot soup with a few handfuls of spinach. Shave over some good quality parmesan cheese and serve piping hot with crusty buttered bread. This homemade soup is heaven in a bowl!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I freeze Chicken Lentil Soup?
Yes! This recipe makes a lot of soup, so I often make a big batch and portion it out and save it in individual containers in the freezer for lazy days when I don’t feel like cooking. It makes a great take-to-work meal too.
Can I make this soup without chicken?
Absolutely! You might like to swap the chicken out for something with a bit of bite such as sweet potato, pumpkin or zucchini. It will still be very tasty!
Do I have to use green lentils in this soup?
All lentils will be lovely in this soup, but I like to use big, green lentils for a bit of chew and flavour. Red lentils will break down and thicken the soup, but will still be very tasty.
Chicken Lentil Soup
- 200 g dried green lentils
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 400 g can of peeled tomatoes
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable broth or stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 large bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, approx 800g / 2 lb.
- 2-3 handfuls baby spinach, washed
- sea salt and black pepper
- Parmesan cheese, for grating over
- BLANCH LENTILS: Pour the lentils into a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
- SAUTÉ VEGETABLES: Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the carrots, celery, and diced onion for 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, paprika and oregano and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes more.
- ADD LIQUIDS: Use a pair of clean scissors to chop the tomatoes in the can, then add to the saucepan along with the stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, nestle the chicken thighs under the liquid and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are tender.
- SHRED CHICKEN: Use a slotted spoon to lift the chicken out of the soup, allow it to cool for a minute or two, then shred the meat, discarding the bones. Return chicken to the soup and warm through over low heat.
- ADD SPINACH: Stir through the spinach, just until wilted, then season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh, crusty bread.
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