Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Serves 4

One cannot have enough lentil recipes. It’s a great protein substitute for meat, it’s affordable and comes in different varieties and it is packed with fibre. This particular lentil soup is inspired by a Turkish recipe I saw by Ana Sortum, the chef of three restaurants in the Boston area, as a contribution to Slow Food Fast. My version is thickened with millet and enriched by the addition of carrots. As per Ana’s suggestion, we served it with plain yogurt and a few generous sprinkles of pomegranate seeds.

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 red or yellow pepper (preferably organic)
2 1/2 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
8 cups of water
1/4 cup millet
1 Tbsp dried mint
2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tsp sumac (optional)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup plain white thick yogurt such as Greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Heat vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat.
Add onions and sauté until they turn golden brown, about 5-8 minutes.
Add carrots and continue to stir until they soften, about 5 minutes.
Add pepper and sauté until soften, another 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste and cumin and toast until they release their aroma, 2-3 minutes.
Add lentils and water and increase heat to bring to boil.
Reduce heat to simmer, add salt and pepper and cook until lentils are tender, abut 10-12 minutes.
Add millet, stir and continue to gently simmer until the grains are cooked, about 10-15 more minutes.
Stir in butter, add mint, and pepper flakes and sumac, if using.
Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds.

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