Egyptian Lentil Soup

My favorite soup. Fennel seed gives it an unusual and delicious flavor.

  • 1 small red onion (about 4 oz.), sliced into very thin rings

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 5 oz. (about 2 1/2 small) carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds

  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 dried red chile, left whole, or cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

  • Juice of half a large lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the red onion in an 8- or 9-inch pie pan and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, until ready to use.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, heat the remaining oil over medium-low heat. Add the yellow onions, carrots, celery, garlic, cumin and fennel seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the broth, water, lentils and chile; season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils are very tender and the broth is slightly thickened.

Stir in the reserved red onion with oil and the lemon juice. Season with additional salt and pepper as necessary. Serve hot, passing the lemon wedges separately if desired.

6 servings

Per serving: 249 calories; 15g protein; 5g fat; 36g carbohydrate; 0mg cholesterol

Source: The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein, The Berkeley Publishing Group, 2001 ISBN 1557883599

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