My sister-in-law is a great cook and from a family of great cooks including her mother, three sisters, and sister-in-law. Every meal she has ever prepared for me, mostly traditional foods from her native Syria, is a feast for the senses—she is an instinctive cook and an artist by training and my personal favorite, her lentil soup is my favorite.
Yield: 8 servings
4 medium onions, finely chopped
½ cup olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry coriander
1 pound dry lentils, rinsed and picked through
2 to 3 tablespoons cumin
Kosher or sea salt
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ pound vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 fresh lemons
Serve with fried pita chips or unseasoned croutons
This is a traditional soup from Syria and Lebanon adas hisem (which translates to "unripe grapes/lentils") it is both vegetarian and vegan, and surprisingly hearty. Start with lots of chopped onions in a healthy amount of olive oil. Then add carrots and lots of garlic. Once the vegetables are softened, stir in some fragrant dried coriander and bright and lemony cumin, as well as dried lentils and enough water to cover the mix by a few inches. Once the lentils have cooked, add a bunch of Swiss chard and toasted vermicelli noodles that have been broken into bits—they cook up and add a creamy flavor and texture. Ladle into serving bowls and give the soup a healthy squeeze of lemon and you are good to GO.
In a large soup pot over medium high heat, saute onions until translucent.
Add garlic and carrots and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Add coriander, stir well to coat the vegetables, and cook about 2 minutes or until very fragrant.
Add lentils and stir well to coat.
Add enough water to cover the ingredients by 3 inches (about 8 cups). Stir in cumin.
Cook about 30 minutes or until lentils are al dente (softened, but not completely cooked).
Season with salt (about 1 tablespoon).
Add Swiss chard and cook about 10 minutes.
Remove 1 cup of broth and whisk in flour, then whisk back into soup pot.
In a saute pan over medium high heat, saute pasta until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add pasta to soup mixture and cook about 8 minutes more. Ladle into soup bowls and squeeze about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over the top.
(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.
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