- 1 lb red lentils
- 3 pints meat or chicken stock
- salt & pepper
- 1 t ground cumin (optional)
- pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 1 1/2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 4 T sunflower oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 t ground coriander
- small bunch of parsley or dill, finely chopped
- 2 pita breads, cut into triangles and opened out
- 1-2 lemons, cut into wedges
Put the lentils in a large pan with the stock and bring to a boil. Remove any scum (with a ladle or large spoon) and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils disintegrate. Add salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne, if wished, when the lentils begin to soften. Add water, if necessary, to this the soup to a light creamy consistency.
To make the garnish, fry the onion in oil till it is very brown – almost caramelized. Add the garlic and coriander and fry until the aroma rises.
Toast the pita bread in the oven until it is crisp and brown, then crumble into pieces. Serve the soup, garnishing each serving with the spiced fried onion. Sprinkle with parsley or dill and accompany with lemon wedges and the toasted bread.
- Add 4 oz vermicelli, 30 minutes before the end.
- Add 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 2 T tomato puree.
- Add 1 lb chard or spinach. Wash the leaves, remove the stems, cut the leaves into shreds, and add 20 minutes before the end.
- Add the juice of 1 lemon or 3 T wine vinegar.
- Add meat to the stock to make the soup a meal in itself
From Mediterranean Cookery
Katie: Gray had made some oven-roasted turkey and we were looking for a side to go with it. We’ve both been wanting to make something with lentils, and this seemed like a good time. We had a little trouble finding the lentils and ended up having to get the kind labeled organic that was twice as expensive in order to have red lentils. The green ones are larger and we were afraid they would take longer to cook since the recipe called for red lentils. The recipe was very simple, and we didn’t garnish it with anything! However, we ended up cutting the turkey into small pieces and stirring it into our lentil soup. This modification was superb and when we had the leftovers we did the same thing again!
A big thanks to one of our friends, who suggested putting the turkey into the soup. Thank goodness we have friends who are willing to try our recipe experiments with us! 🙂
Gray: As Katie said, we did tweak this a little bit and skip the garnishes because we were making it with something else. This is a super simple recipe and it only takes a few minutes to get ready. I did some more reading after making this and all of the lentil soups I found are basically the same. Lentils, stock, and some seasonings, plus some kind of toppings. I am going to make some with a smoked ham hock and bacon topping next…. I loved how hearty this was without having a lot of ingredients, and without being complicated. You could definitely serve this as either a main or side dish, and it is flexible enough to serve at a casual dinner or you could dress it up for a dinner party. Enjoy!