Sunday, November 11, 2007

Moroccan Lentil Soup

Part two of the Soup Trilogy.

Here I go again with the lentils. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I love 'em. I just finished a bowl of this soup for lunch and am thinking of heading back for more. In this recipe, the lentils themselves don't offer much in the way of flavor. Instead, the majority of the taste comes from ras-el-hanout. For this recipe, I freshly ground my own but I'm sure you can find some in an upscale grocery store. If not, here's a great source for mail order spices: The Spice House.

This recipe is adapted from Essence. As usual, I made a giant vat of soup but have given instructions for a smaller amount. The pictures show my cooking process and might not reflect yours.

Rough chop a carrot, an onion and a few cloves of garlic:
Rinse and drain 2 cups of lentils. Feel free to use split yellow peas or, as I used here, mung dal.

Melt 3/4 stick of butter in a pot. This seems excessive, I know, but the recipe called for twice that amount. Gotta love restaurant cooking, right?
Toss in the carrots/onion/garlic and saute until the onions are soft:
Add 2-3 tablespoons of ras-el-hanout to the pot. Give it a good stir and cook for a minute or two until quite fragrant. The mingling aroma of butter and fragrant spices is quite nice.
Add the lentils, give everything a good stir and cook for a few minutes:
At this point, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. lower heat to a simmer and allow the soup to cook. Feel free to add more water during the cooking process if the pot starts to look dry. Total cooking time depends on the type of legume. For mung dal, it's only about 40 minutes until it's a soupy mess. For split yellow peas, it'll be much longer. As usual, just taste every 25 minutes until the legumes are nice and soft.
When cooked, take an immersion blender (or regular blender) and puree the whole thing. Add extra water to adjust the consistency of the soup. Taste, adjust seasoning and you're done. Super easy.

Time- 1-1.5 hours, much of it unsupervised.
Food Cost-
Lentils- $1.50
Incidentals- $1.50
Total- $3.00
Should make enough for four, side dish servings. About $0.75 per serving.

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