Turkish Red Lentil Soup

From November 7, 2009:  I made this soup the other night.  I was not intending to puree the soup and instead just leave it as is (I like the heartier texture), but after 20 minutes, the lentils had almost disintegrated, so I went ahead and pureed the soup as directed in the recipe.  It tasted great.  I didn’t like the smooth texture (reminded me of the consistency of baby food).  I’ll make this soup again and not puree it.  Keep an eye on the red lentils, they cook fast. 

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

2 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup onions, chopped
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1/2 cup potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 cup red lentils, picked over and washed
5 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon
Oregano or hot pepper flakes, preferably Turkish Maras crushed pepper (optional)

Heat the butter in a large saucepan.  Add onion, and saute until golden.  Add tomato paste, carrot, potato and celery, if using. Saute a few more minutes.  Add red lentils and water or broth along with salt, cumin and black pepper.  Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to blender and puree until smooth.  Serve with croutons or Turkish bread and slice of lemon. Add hot pepper and oregano, if desired.

Serves 4.

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