There’s something about this recipe that seems so basic and humble – that’s what I love about it.
Mercimek Corbasi (Turkish Red Lentil Soup)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 carrot, diced
1 t olive oil
4 C water or veggie stock
1 T tomato paste
1 T roasted red pepper
½ t crushed red pepper
1 C red lentils
1 t salt
Option: 2 T olive oil and 1 T sweet paprika as a garnish
Dice the onion and carrot. Crush the garlic. Saute the onion and carrot over medium heat until the onion is slightly browned (about 5 minutes.) Add in the crushed garlic and sauté this for another 3 minutes. Add in the water, tomato paste, roasted red pepper, and crushed red pepper, stirring everything together until it is thoroughly combined.
Once the liquid is simmering, add in the lentils. Bring this to a boil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low. Cook this for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Blend the soup with the tsp. of salt until it is smooth.
Option: Heat the olive oil and paprika on a medium heat, stirring them together until they are combined into paprika oil. Allow this to cook for no more than a minute. Swirl the paprika oil onto the finished soup.
Low-fat version (no oil added): Sautee the onion, carrot, and garlic in a thin layer of water instead of olive oil.
Variations of mercimek abound all over the Middle East, with the northern Turkish variation using green lentils instead of red.