Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Adas - Lentil Soup




"A Mess of Potage" is what my husband calls it and yes, sometimes it looks like a mess, or at least my kitchen utensils do after preparing it! My husband maintains that this earthy, humble lentil soup from Jordan (the land of the Bible) must have been similar to what the Biblical Esau sold his birthright for, to his brother Jacob. Even hungry modern-day nomads, after a day of unfruitful hunting and surviving the wilds of suburbia might be inclined to do the same for this satisfying bowl of sustenance. If Jacob's version included the fried bread croutons and lemon juice of this recipe, he might have had his pick of birthrights from those lined up outside his tent drooling for a "mess" from the "potage" pot!

Adas - Lentil Soup:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
1 tab. ground cumin
1 lemon, cut in wedges
3 pita loaves, cut into 1 inch squares
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tab. ground sumac
salt and pepper to taste
finely minced fresh parsley

-Rinse lentils then soak in large bowl of cold water
for 1 hour.  Drain and set aside.

-In large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil.  Add
the chopped onion and cook over medium heat
until onions are soft and golden, stirring
frequently (about 20 minutes.)

-Add carrots and garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes
longer.

-Add lentils, cumin and 4 cups water to the pot.
Cover and cook over medium-high heat until
contents come to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low
simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until
lentils are very tender, stirring occasionally.

-Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup olive oil in medium sauté
pan.  Add bread squares and cook over medium-high
heat until browned and crispy, stirring frequently.
Remove bread squares from oil and drain.  Salt
lightly while warm.

-Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 - 15
minutes.  Place soup in blender and blend until
smooth (or if you prefer to keep some of the lentils
whole, for a coarser soup, puree just half of the
lentils.)  Return soup to pot.  Season to taste with
generous salt and pepper and ground sumac.

-Ladle into soup bowls.  On top of each serving,
sprinkle bread squares, a squirt of lemon juice,
minced parsley and additional sumac. 
Serve with lemon wedges.

**(for a richer broth, add chicken bouillon paste to
     liquid when cooking lentils)

-Serves 6 - 8

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