Neil’s Heavy Lentil Soup


Once in every lifetime, comes a soup like thisโ€ฆ

Neil was the sad hippie on the cult BBC sitcom The Young Ones. Often the butt of jokes and subject to general abuse by his housemates, Rik, Vyvyan and Mike, ย Neil’s responsibility was to cook for everybody, and he had one specialty: lentils.ย  I’ve decided to take Neil’s signature dish and update it for a modern audience. It’s very simple, but very “heavy.”

This recipe is vegetarian, because “I don’t abuse my body in the world I live in.” It makes a good amount of soup, around 8 servings, which can feed all of the members of Madness.

Neil’s Vegetable Rights & Peace Lentil Soup


  • 1lbย  bag lentils
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 5 tsp olive oil
  • 1bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (no MSG)
  • 2 ยฝย  cups water
  • lemon juice

Sort and rinse the lentils and set aside.ย In a large pot, saute the onion, celery, carrot and potato in the olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, 1 cup water and then the lentils. Stir thoroughly. Add the bayleaf. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat. Cover and let simmer for about an hour and a half, stirring every 20 min or so. Add the other 1 ยฝ cup water as needed. Soup is ready when lentils & vegetables are tender and smushy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bayleaf, and sprinkle with lemon juice before serving.

After cooking, you can put the soup in a food processor or blender to make it smooth and fancy. Laziness usually prevents me from doing this, but it is a nice touch.

While the soup simmers feel free to play the guitar, smash plates or go on University Challenge. Or, just watch an episode of The Young Ones:

And here’s really great interview with Ben Elton and Rik Mayall about the creation of the series.


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