Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Za’atar Oil

Recipe adapted from Milk Street’s Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Aleppo Pepper Oil

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon salted butter (I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into 1/2 inch-dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons long-grain white rice (I skip this)
  • 5 cups water
  • kosher salt

For Serving

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (I use za’atar)
  • Chopped fresh mint leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. I like to use an immersion blender to puree the soup. I also like to boil it down until it is thickened to my liking.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. If using z’atar, stir in extra-virgin olive oil until desired consistency is reached, .
  4. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper or za’atar oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.

Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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