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This is a slight variation of the lentil soup my father has made ever since I can remember. He is from Lebanon and one of the best cooks I know. My version is a combination of his and the red lentil soup served at a Lebanese restaurant in Chicago, the chef of which was kind enough to share his secrets with me. It is healthy, hearty, delicious and easy to make.
- 10 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
- 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil or 1 -2 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 1⁄2 cups red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
- 1⁄2 cup rice
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons Arabic seven spice (available at Middle Eastern grocery stores)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- salt and pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon aleppo pepper (also available at Middle Eastern grocery stores) (optional) or 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- Sautee onions in the olive oil or butter until soft and translucent.
- Add the stock, lentils, and rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover partially.
- When lentils are broken down and rice is almost cooked (about 10 minutes), add the Arabic seven spice, cumin, salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper, if using it.
- Simmer soup for another 15-20 minutes.
- Turn off heat and then add the lemon juice.
- NOTE: Add more stock or water to thin it out if it becomes too thick. At the correct consistency, you should be able to pour the soup into bowls.
- Serve with crusty bread and additional lemon wedges.