Neil’s Heavy Lentil Soup


Once in every lifetime, comes a soup like this…

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,  Neil’s responsibility was to cook for everybody, and he had one specialty: lentils.  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


  • 1lb  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 ½  cups water
  • lemon juice

Sort and rinse the lentils and set aside. 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 ½ 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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