Friday, February 5, 2010

Egyptian Lentil Soup

Please, do not judge this soup by how it looks. That is an awful, awful shade of green, I know...but it tastes so good! I acquired a selection of lentils on a recent trip to Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor has what Lexington lacks - a year round market. One of the market stores had a greater selection of lentils than Whole Foods can ever hope to carry in their bulk section. One treat I left with was just about a pound of yellow lentils (actually orange, but turn yellow when they cook) and another pound or so of very small black lentils. I mixed the two for this soup, knowing well enough that they color would be interesting (but like I tastes wonderful), I may get the yellow lentils again, to make this with just yellow. I'm sure it would be rather pretty.

I've had Iranian lentil soup before, lovingly called Ash by a high school- friend's mother. And I remember this soup tasting so good, and being so filling. I tired to look up a recipe for Ash, only to learn that "ash" is Persian for soup. So, since 2003 I've been wanting to know the secret to this delicious soup of my high school study evenings. And, I found it!!!! The secret is a combination of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and fresh parsley. It was a wonderful surprise to discover that!!!

Anyway, the recipe is derived from a recipe that was derived from someone's grandmother's recipe (this does make me wonder how authentic it now is, but it does taste just like my friend's mom's) that I found on epicurious.

I made a few changes to the spices, by consulting my Flavor Bible, but other than that, I stayed true to most of the recipe.

1 lbs dry yellow lentils - rinsed
1 medium carrot - chopped
2 red potatoes - chopped
1 large onion - chopped
1 large tomato - seeded and chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 cloves of garlic - minced
salt and pepper
2 14.5 cans of low sodium beef broth
fresh parsley

1 C. dry rice
whole wheat pita bread

-Start cooking rice by bringing 1.5 - 2 C water boiling. Add rice, cover, turn to simmer for 45 minutes. Set aside.

-Place lentils, carrot, potato, and tomato in a stock pot. Add water until there are 2 inches of water covering the contents. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for 30 minutes. Once cooked, puree and remove from heat.

-Add EVOO to a skillet. Then add cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper. Once fragrant, add onion and saute until the onion starts to turn light brown. Add minced garlic and turn to coat. Then add onion to puree before the garlic burns. Stir to combine.

-Warm pita bread. Drizzle with a bit of EVOO and a little salt.

-Spoon rice into a bowl, pour the lentil soup over the rice. Add 1 tsp fresh parsley to each bowl. Serve with pita bread.