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Persian-Style Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, chopped finely
1 celery, chopped (optional)
2 -3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 (15 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock or 4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup red lentil, rinsed
1 bunch parsley, chopped (or 2tbs dried)
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 -2 tablespoon sumac
1 dried lime (strongly preferred, but can substitute with 1/4 c lime or lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened.
2 Stir in the turmeric and paprika. Add tomatoes and stock along with the dried lime. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. If the dried lime is still floating, cut it in half with a knife or kitchen scissors now that it is softened.
3 Add the lentils, return to a simmer. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
4 Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree half the soup, return to the pot.
5 Add sumac and parsley/other herbs, cook 5 minutes longer.
6 Serve hot with bread and a dollop of yogurt (optional).

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