Thursday, December 27, 2007

Red Lentil Soup with a Spicy Sizzle

6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
2 each onions chopped (1 1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups red lentils rinsed
1/3 cup bulgur
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 each bay leaf
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; cook for 1 minute. Add broth, lentils, bulgur, tomato paste and bay leaf; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils and bulgur are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Ladle about 4 cups of the soup into a food processor and puree. Return the pureed soup to the soup pot and heat through. Stir in lemon juice and season with pepper.

Just before serving, ladle the soup into bowls. Heat the remaining 4 teaspoons oil in a small skillet and stir in paprika and cayenne. Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of the sizzling spice mixture over each bowlful and serve immediately.

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