Turkish Red Lentil Soup

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Lentil soup remains a staple in much of the Middle East and is on nearly every menu and table in Turkey. Traditionally this soup is served completely pureed like a split pea soup and quite thin but I like leaving some of the lentils more chunky which lends to a feeling of heartiness that I really enjoy. Be sure to make the super simple paprika oil; it adds a beautiful pop of color in presentation and an earthy depth of flavor. To serve this soup, drizzle a teaspoon or so of the paprika oil on each bowl along with a squeeze of lemon and an extra sprinkle of mint or red pep


For the Soup:
1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
½ teaspoon dried Spearmint
½ teaspoon French Thyme or Greek Oregano
¼ teaspoon fresh ground Malabar Black Pepper
¼ teaspoon Marash Chile Flakes
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
Kosher Flake Sea Salt to taste

For the Paprika Oil:
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oi
1½ teaspoons Hungarian Paprika
¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Lemon wedges
Fresh mint, chopped
Additional red pepper flakes for those who like it spicy


Check your lentils for any foreign debris like small stones, then rinse them 2 or 3 times, drain, and set aside.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil for about a minute, then add the onion with a pinch of salt and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and sauté for another 3 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir until it is well mixed with the sautéed vegetables.

Add the cumin, paprika, mint, thyme, black pepper, and Marash Chile Flakes and sauté for 10-20 seconds to bloom the spices. Quickly add the lentils, water, and broth. salt.

Bring the soup to a boil.

After it has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have fallen apart and the carrots are completely cooked.

While the soup is cooking you'll want to make the paprika oil.

Mix together the olive oil, paprika, and red pepper flakes in a small sauce pan over medium heat. The moment you see the paprika starting to bubble, remove the pan from the heat. Transfer to small bowl.

After the soup has cooked and the lentils are tender, blend about two thirds of the soup either in a blender or with an immersion blender to reach a somewhat smoother consistency (there is no right or wrong way here), then add back the unblended lentils in the pot. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary.

Serve the soup with a drizzle of paprika oil, wedges of lemon, and fresh mint and red pepper flakes in small bowls for everyone to customize to their taste.


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