Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Armenian Lentil Soup

Armenian Lentil Soup
Adapted from New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1-1½ hours

Serves 8

1½ cups dried lentils
6 cups chicken stock (the book suggests vegetable stock or water)
½ cup chopped dried apricots
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
3 cups cubed eggplant (I left the skin on)
1 can (28oz/796ml) tomatoes, chopped with liquid
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice (or more cinnamon)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1½ tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

1. Rinse the lentils and bring them to a boil in the stock in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add the chopped apricots and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

2. In the meantime, heat a large, heavy bottomed skilled and sauté the onions in oil until translucent over medium high heat (about 5 minutes). Add the eggplant and 4-5 tbsp more stock. Stir and cover, cooking over medium heat until the eggplant is tender (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally. Uncover and add the spices. Stir well (it really brings out the flavors of the spices to do this before adding the tomatoes and their juices). Now add the tomatoes and cover, cooking for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add this vegetable mixture to the lentils and apricots and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the fresh herbs and serve.

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