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Welcome to my Blog 'In The Kitchen With Don'! Thank you for your visit and come back soon!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Any time Aaron and I eat at a Middle Eastern restaurant, we always get the lentil soup.   It is very hearty, filling and superbly spiced.   After trying for quite a while, I have finally perfected a close copy of our favorite version.   Here is what I ended up with, along with a couple of variations.   Don't limit yourself to the vegetables mentioned here.  If there is something else you like or want to add, do it.   Likewise with herbs or spices.   Enjoy!

1 lb. bag of lentils, washed
10 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 ½ cups chopped carrots
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
6 (or more) cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3-4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper or paprika
2 tsp. tumeric
¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven.   Add the chopped onion, carrots and garlic.   Fry, stirring often, until they begin to brown.   Add the cumin, cayenne and tumeric, fry for a short bit, until fragrant, then add the chicken broth and lentils.   Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.   Simmer, stirring every so often, until the lentils are tender, 30-40 minutes.   At this point you have three options:   eat the soup as is, puree half of the soup and return to the pot or puree the whole thing.  I personally prefer the second option.   Sprinkle the chopped parsley or cilantro over the top of the soup and serve.   Allow everyone to add lemon juice to taste to their bowls of soup.

#1  add some cooked, chopped chicken to the soup and heat.
#2   add chopped cauliflower and/or peeled cubed potatoes with the other vegetables
#3   add a dollop of yogurt to the bowl when serving
#4   all of the above