Pass the Hummus

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lentil Soup (Shorbat il-Adds) (شوربة العدس)


Well, it was supposed to snow in DC. And I was supposed to get off from work because Washington is really just a southern city that shrieks at the first dusting of snow. Unfortunately, the flurries are few and far between. I should lounge in my apartment wearing pajamas, have habibi bring me hot chocolate with little marshmallows, and watch trashy 'who's the daddy?' talk shows in spite of mother nature. Don't judge me - this is what I do for fun:)

But it's still really cold outside and wintry weather calls for a big bowl of hot soup.
There are so many lentil dishes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. This lentil soup is really just mix of favorite vegetables, lentils, broth, and spices. As an added benefit, lentils are high in fiber, B-vitamins, and protein. Feel free to add or subtract other vegetables to the soup depending on what you have on hand.

1 medium onion, diced
1 TBL olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 ripe plum tomatoes (or 2 regular tomatoes), seeded and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
2 cups dried French green lentils*, rinsed
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
1 TBL tomato paste
salt and pepper

Serves 6-8. *You can use brown lentils - just simmer them for 15 minutes instead of thirty. Don't substitute red lentils; they will turn to mush before you can say baby it's cold outside.

1. Saute the diced onions and olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or dutch oven for 10 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden brown. Sprinkle the ground cumin over the vegetables and stir until you can smell the cumin toasting, about one minute.

2. Add the carrots and bay leaf to the pot. Immediately pour in 2 cups water and 2 cups vegetable broth and simmer until the carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, and celery (and any other quick-cooking vegetables you want to use, e.g. squash, peas). Pour the rest of the water and broth along with the rinsed lentils into the pot and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. The lentils should be soft, but not falling apart.

4. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste; stir to incorporate. Discard the bay leaf before serving.