1 1/2 cups (275g) French green lentils (soak them ahead for a couple of hours)
6 cups (1.5l) vegetable or chicken stock
1 bushy sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of freshly-ground nutmeg
1 cup (250ml) coconut milk, or to taste (I normally use a whole 14oz/400ml can which makes a slightly richer soup)
A few handfuls (~7oz/200g) fresh spinach, chard, kale or other chopped green veggies, washed, tough stems discarded and cut into ribbons (optional)
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the butter or oil in a smallish skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and caramelized in places, about 12-15 minutes.
Add the garlic and spices and fry just until deeply aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Add the stock and the lentils, thyme and turmeric and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and optional greens too. Bring everything back to a gentle boil and cook another 10 minutes, or until the flavors have blended and the greens are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot, or store / freeze.