Turkish Red Lentil Soup…

Admittedly, I have been lax at learning about (and trying to cook) traditional Turkish cuisine. Lately though our go-to weeknight quick fix meal is Turkish Red Lentil Soup. It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare– including prep time–and is hearty, delish, and comforting. I would like to point out that I am just a beginner at this recipe, but I can get it pretty close to my mother-in-law’s soup. I based my recipe off of the this one, but have made a few tweaks.

* 1 tbs olive oil
* 1 large yellow onion, diced
* 1 large carrot, diced
* 5 cloves of garlic, minced (we like a lot of garlic)
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes if you like it mild)
* 16 oz red lentils, rinsed and picked over for debris
* 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
* 1 can of tomato paste (6oz–we like a lot of tomatoes)
* 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving (don’t skip this–it makes it extra delish)

1) In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the carrot is starting to soften. Add garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper/red pepper flakes, and lentils, and cook for 1 additional minute, or until the spices are incredibly fragrant. Add chicken/vegetable stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are completely tender and falling apart.

2) This step is optional and we choose not to do this part–Transfer half of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth, then stir the purée back into the remaining soup. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.

3) Serve with lemon to squeeze into the soup.