Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lebanese Style Lentil Soup

We used to attend a small group designed especially for families when we lived in Salt Lake City. It was one of those delightfully necessary things that every parent with small children knows: a safe place to go to socialize with other adults while your children play with other children and their (exciting/new) toys. :0)

One cold winter evening, we slipped and slid across town to the host's (Lisa and Glenn, you know who you are!) home where we were greeted with this amazing lentil soup, amongst other steaming soup choices. The combination of flavors were delicious and I asked to have the recipe. It's still one of our favorites.

1 1/2 cup brown lentils
8 cups vegetable or vegetarian chicken stock
1 large potato
1 bunch fresh or 1 lb. frozen spinach (or you could substitute chard)
1 medium onion, diced
4 T. olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped (washed) cilantro or 1 tsp. ground coriander
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper or Pepper Like Seasoning from The Vegetarian Express
1/2 tsp cumin
3 Tb. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices (optional)

Rinse lentils well. Combine lentils and stock in a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Peel potato and cut into small cubes. Add to lentils. Cover and simmer about 20 more minutes. Wash fresh spinach well and cut into strips. Add to soup, cover and continue cooking until lentils are tender (about 20 more minutes). Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is soft and semi-clarified. To the onion mixture, add 1/2 cup cilantro and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion/cilantro mixture to soup during last 5 minutes of cooking. Stir in salt to taste (maybe about 1 1/2 tsp), pepper, cumin and lemon juice.

(Side note: I prepared this last night and didn't have cilantro. I altered the directions to suit my situation. I had 1 lb. frozen spinach, so I added it to the onion/garlic and sautéed them together with the 1 tsp. dried coriander. It was good, but the fresh cilantro is better.)

Make this a complete meal with crusty artisan bread and a tossed green salad.

Makes 6 servings (1 2/3 cup size)

*This is a family recipe from L. B.

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