This recipe is adapted from Magda el-Mehdawy's book My Egyptian Grandmother's Kitchen. Lentils are a very ancient food staple, and have been the basis of diets in the Middle East for millennia. To perk up the flavor of this soup, cooks often add a spritz of lemon juice to each serving at the last minute. Note: Ghee is available at Middle Eastern markets. Yellow lentils are actually orange when you buy them in the package, but they quickly turn yellow when cooked. Unlike brown lentils, they take very little time to cook.The amount of cumin can be adjusted to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter, see Tips, below)
- 2 pita bread rounds, each cut into 9 wedges
- 1 lb dried yellow lentils
- 1 medium tomato, quartered and seeded
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon corn oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cups beef stock or 3 cups canned beef broth
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- In large skillet over medium heat, heat ghee. Working in batches of 6, sauté pita pieces until crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Wash lentils well in several changes of water until water runs clear. Drain. In large saucepan, combine lentils and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add tomato, potato, carrot, and salt and bring to boil. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on top.
- Remove from heat. Strain, reserving cooking liquid. In blender, purée solids, adding enough reserved liquid to make mixture smooth. Set aside.
- In medium pot over moderately high heat, heat corn oil. Add onion and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add puréed lentils, beef stock, and cumin. Simmer until soup thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with fried bread wedges.