RED LENTIL SOUP WITH LEMON
adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite (Melissa Clark, 2010)
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional good oil for drizzling
2 large onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon harissa (perhaps rooster sauce would also work)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups red lentils
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, mint, or parsley (I prefer cilantro)
1. In a large pot, heat the oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and harissa, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
3. Add the broth, 2 cups water, the lentils, and the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
4. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, mint, or parsley. Serve the soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted very lightly with chili powder, if desired.
OPTIONAL: Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, puree half the soup (it should be somewhat chunky, not smooth).