A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to receive a gift from a very sweet friend. The totally unexpected package contained a cookbook I had not previously seen, Lévana Kirschenbaum’s recent publication, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen. I immediately sat down and started poring through page after page of mouth-watering recipes, making mental notes about which ones I wanted to try first.
Life got a bit crazy, as it is wont to do at the end of the year, and I finally made my first dish from this lovely book last Friday night. After a cold, cold week, complete with ice storms, snow storms, blackouts and whiteouts, we needed a rich, hearty soup, and that is what I sought.
The Moroccan Lentil Soup that I made came together easily. Her instructions to finely chop most of the “problem veggies” (onions, celery, herbs, etc) in the food processor made the preparation a breeze, and the aroma of the onions and cilantro had me drooling long before any of the ingredients hit the pot for cooking.
Because life waits for no one, and we had a ton of errands to run before Shabbat, we made the soup in a slow cooker. It took a lot longer to cook the lentils, but we expected this and planned accordingly, and the soup was ready in plenty of time for our Shabbat dinner.
This soup is a nutritional powerhouse, full of protein- and fibre-rich lentils, canned tomatoes with their lycopenes, and one of the recently lauded superfoods, turmeric. More important, it tastes great!
The verdict from those who really matter – A-plus.
My husband said, “It’s interesting, exotic and filling. This and a slice of bread is a meal. You can make it any time; I could keep eating it forever.”
My 16-year-old son said, “I want this again.”
And the toughest critic, my 9-year-old daughter, who usually responds to new foods with “I’m not going to like that,” came back for seconds and opined, “It’s yummy.” Then she looked at her aquarium and added, “But my fish won’t like it.”
Good. That leaves more for the humans.
Moroccan Lentil Soup
- 2 large onions
- 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bunch cilantro. Tough end stems cut off
- 6 ribs celery, peeled
- 4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 3 quarts water
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 cups green or brown lentils
- Pepper to taste
In a food processor, coarsely grind the onion, parsley, cilantro and celery. Transfer the mixture to a heavy wide-bottom pot. Add all but the last ingredient and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium and cook covered for 1 hour, or a little longer until the lentils are perfectly tender ad the soup looks thick and creamy. Stir in the ground pepper and adjust the texture and seasonings. Makes a dozen ample servings.