I double bagged my socks today, and tossed my fleece in the dryer to warm it up before I put it on. It was a hot soup day if ever there was one.
So much Egypt in the news made me want to know more about their cuisine, and when I Googled it, up came a yellow lentil soup. Which as you may know, is right up my alley. I had just unearthed a bag of lentils from the depths of my cupboard – you know that one jammed with all manner of grains, beans, nuts, chocolate and dried fruit? Interspersed with some spices and packets of things that really don’t have a home anywhere else? And so I was happy to use it and decrease the surplus population.
The interesting thing about this soup is that the lentils and veg are simmered separately from the onions, which are caramelized and then not pureed with the rest of the soup. I’d have started with the onions, proceeded with the lentils, veg and stock, then pureed the lot. But I decided to try it this way. I may rebel and do it my way next time, if only to save one pot from being washed. Also – I found the pitas easier to toast in the oven than in a skillet, as was instructed. Either way.
Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup
Adapted from Epicurious, where it was adapted from Magda el-Mehdawy’s book My Egyptian Grandmother’s Kitchen. I imagine it would be just fine with red/orange lentils, too.
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 pita bread
1 lb dried yellow lentils
1 tomato, chopped
1 thin-skinned potato, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 L beef stock or canned beef broth (or vegetable or onion stock for a vegetarian soup)
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Brush a bit of oil on the pitas and cut them into strips; spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add tomato, potato, carrot, and salt and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on top. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a medium pot set over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for about 8 minutes, or until golden.
Remove the lentil mixture from heat and purée using a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in the regular blender. Add to the onions along with the beef stock and cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, topped with the pita strips and parsley or cilantro. Serves 4-6.