1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika, plus extra to garnish
700 g (1 1/2 lb) carrots, peeled and finely chopped
150 g (5 oz) red split lentils, rinsed and drained
150 ml (1/4 pint) single cream
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) hot vegetable stock
100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) crème fraîche
small handful of chopped coriander leaves
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the garlic, ginger, red chilli, onion and smoked paprika and cook, stirring, over a medium-high heat for 1–2 minutes. Add the carrots, lentils, cream and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the caramelized onions, heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook over a low heat for 12–15 minutes or until caramelized and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.
Using an electric stick blender, blend the lentil mixture in the pan until smooth, then season well.
Ladle into bowls, add a dollop of crème fraiche and scatter with chopped coriander leaves and the caramelized onions. Sprinkle with a little smoked paprika before serving.