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Lentil and Spinach Soup

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It is a nasty, rainy day here in Charlotte, and I am craving my mother-in-law's Middle Eastern lentil soup. She made hers with spinach, onions and lots of lemon. It is a simple, Lenten dish.

I would love to here from FoodMan or Chefzadi on this - do you have a recipe for this soup?

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We made our "shorbat'adass" with swiss chards and potatoes. Some onions but no spinach and of course loads of lemon in it.


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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Yeap, chard is my standard as well. I never tried it with spinach but I am sure it is good as well. Basically, the lentil soup with lots of lemon and chard is usually called "Addas Bil Hammud" or 'Lentils in Lemon'. This gives you an idea how lemony the soup should be :smile:.

My favorite is "Kibbet Raheb" though. This is basically the same soup but it has dumplings poached in it. Those are made from bulghur, onions, parsley and a touch of flour and are about the size of a large marble each.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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My favorite is "Kibbet Raheb" though. This is basically the same soup but it has dumplings poached in it. Those are made from bulghur, onions, parsley and a touch of flour and are about the size of a large marble each.

This sounds great. Can you provide additional details?

Do you cook the bulghur first, moisten it with hot water, or just use it dry? I suspect the second. And, as for the onions, to you cook/fry them first?

Thanks,

rien

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I think that Zeitoun and FoodMan would know more about Middle Eastern style lentil and spinach soup than I would. I'm North African. :biggrin:

I do have a recipe for a similar soup, but I don't know how it compares to a Middle Eastern version. I am learning more and more that the couscous line is more than that, culinarily speaking. Alot of the mezze are very similar though...

I'll post a recipe later, I have to go pick up my girl at school soon.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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We made our "shorbat'adass" with swiss chards and potatoes. Some onions but no spinach and of course loads of lemon in it.

Recipe please.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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My favorite is "Kibbet Raheb" though. This is basically the same soup but it has dumplings poached in it. Those are made from bulghur, onions, parsley and a touch of flour and are about the size of a large marble each.

This sounds great. Can you provide additional details?

Do you cook the bulghur first, moisten it with hot water, or just use it dry? I suspect the second. And, as for the onions, to you cook/fry them first?

Thanks,

rien

rien-

The bulgur is the fine grind one, and it is soaked to get a little soft. The onions and parsley are chopped very fine but not cooked, although I am sure you can. Just add enough flour to make a coarse dough, you should not need much and season to taste. You should not need to add any water to the "dough" or Kibbeh since the bulgur should be kind of wet, but if it is not coming togehter then add some water. From the dough make small marble size balls and poach them in the soup during the last thirty minutes or so. Keep in mind that they do expand during cooking so don't make too much of them, they should not be the center of attention, just another element of the soup.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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We made our "shorbat'adass" with swiss chards and potatoes. Some onions but no spinach and of course loads of lemon in it.

Recipe please.

My way of doing it is fairly standard in lebanon. The only difference is maybe the potatoes which not everyone uses.

Here it goes:

I start by cooking green lentils in a pot in light brown stock (or water if stock is not available), and add my chopped chard stems after the lentils come to a boil.

Potatoes are added maybe 1/3 into the total lentil cooking time (I play it by ear, it depends on how big my pieces are) and chard leaves about 2/3 into it.

I generally cover while I simmer the whole thing. I personally like to slightly overcook my lentils and I tend to mix the lentils frequently while it cooks to break them up a little. The potatoes will also help thicken the soup a little, and by stirring a lot I am looking for a thick consistency.

In a separate pan, heat chopped onions and garlic and chopped cilantro in a fair amount of olive oil, let cool and add lots of lemon juice to it (depends on how sour you like it, i like mine really sour) + salt/pepper. The lemon/oil mixture is combined with the cooked lentils before it is served and voila...

I generally like to add croutons to my soup and (of course what else) more freshly squeezed lemon juice if I think it is not sour enough it never is usually :biggrin:


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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Zeitoun-

Your way also sounds pretty Algerian too me. Can you imagine how many lentil dishes my maman made with seven kids? :blink: Yes, she added lots of lemon too. I also like my lentils more cooked for a soup than I would for say a lentil salad. Tender with some "bite." Croutons? Of course! I like your method of cooking the onions, garlic and herbs seperately. It illustrates the brilliance of our cuisine. Simple techniques that add layers of flavor even to a most humble legume.

So your wife makes Lebanese? My wife makes Algerian? It's a beautiful world! :biggrin:

EDIT: For some reason I read, "my way" as "My wife's way" :biggrin: Either way I still like your recipe and methods.


Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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And at what temperature do you serve the soup?

I prefer it lukewarm to hot. Maybe even a little on the cooler side.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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In Algeria it's often eaten lukewarm, a little on the cooler side as Ms Wolfert describes. My preference depends on where I am. I generally like my soups/stews served hot though.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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So your wife makes Lebanese? My wife makes Algerian? It's a beautiful world!  :biggrin:

My wife loooooves middle eastern food. I'm so glad that her and I have so much in common in terms of what we like foodwise. I was brought up eating lots of mediterranean type foods and being from japan she ate lots of japanese homefood, strangely we seem to have the same palate!?!?

But back to the topic of this discussion, I normally eat my lentil soup lukewarm to hot, just my personal taste.

I'm very curious to know what are the different ways of preparing lentil soup in North Africa?


Edited by zeitoun (log)

"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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Room temp to fridge cold :smile:, preferably room temp though.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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sorry to barge into a middle eastern thread with an indian recipe, but I took these pictures recently. I dont think the dish has a name(it was one of those 'lets throw it all into the pot and mash it together' kinda dish..actually, it was a pressure cooker, iirc), but it has spinach, moong dhal, onions, garlic, tomatoes and green chillies. No stock, only water. It is more of a stew than a soup. I suppose, it can be thinned out to be like a soup.

Forgive the wrong order, but you get the idea. Also ignore the string of jasmine.. :raz: I sent this slideshow to someone and simply had to include the jasmine flowers. It has nothing to do with the dish.


Edited by FaustianBargain (log)

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Yes, just exactly are you doing here in the Middle Eastern forum with an Indian recipe!?!?! :laugh:

Pakistan borders Iran and Afghanistan, of course we know that Arabs and Indians have been in contact throughout history. The influences and exchanges of language, cuisine, etc are apparent.

Which spices did you use? And quantities? I'm guessing it would served at room temperature, is this correct?

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Yes, just exactly are you doing here in the Middle Eastern forum with an Indian recipe!?!?!  :laugh: 

Pakistan borders Iran and Afghanistan, of course we know that Arabs and Indians have been in contact throughout history. The influences and exchanges of language, cuisine, etc are apparent.

Which spices did you use? And quantities? I'm guessing it would served at room temperature, is this correct?

see..thats the thing. no spices. i am allergic to the cacophony of spices that seems to be the norm for indian food outside india. served piping hot, of course! i also like it with a dash of buttermilk or yogurt. it gets tangy/slightly sour. but thats just a personal preference. of course, you cannot boil it too much.

gosh..now, i am embarassed..but i think those are pulses...whats the difference between pulses and lentils anyways?

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lentils are a type of pulse. No spices you say? Interesting. I think that I have a new threa to start in the India forum. :biggrin:

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We made our "shorbat'adass" with swiss chards and potatoes. Some onions but no spinach and of course loads of lemon in it.

Recipe please.

My way of doing it is fairly standard in lebanon. The only difference is maybe the potatoes which not everyone uses.

Here it goes:

I start by cooking green lentils in a pot in light brown stock (or water if stock is not available), and add my chopped chard stems after the lentils come to a boil.

Potatoes are added maybe 1/3 into the total lentil cooking time (I play it by ear, it depends on how big my pieces are) and chard leaves about 2/3 into it.

I generally cover while I simmer the whole thing. I personally like to slightly overcook my lentils and I tend to mix the lentils frequently while it cooks to break them up a little. The potatoes will also help thicken the soup a little, and by stirring a lot I am looking for a thick consistency.

In a separate pan, heat chopped onions and garlic and chopped cilantro in a fair amount of olive oil, let cool and add lots of lemon juice to it (depends on how sour you like it, i like mine really sour) + salt/pepper. The lemon/oil mixture is combined with the cooked lentils before it is served and voila...

I generally like to add croutons to my soup and (of course what else) more freshly squeezed lemon juice if I think it is not sour enough it never is usually :biggrin:

Thank you Zeitoun!

It is an amazingly delicious and simple soup, just left the table and felt an urge to let you know we appreciate the recipe. I started it off with lentils and meat stock and went along all your guidance. The proper chard leaves weren't enough so I added some big fresh Turkish spinach leaves. What I liked most is that there is what I call "layers" of great taste to it. My family is very happy because I made enough for the next day or two.

Boaziko


"Eat every meal as if it's your first and last on earth" (Conrad Rosenblatt 1935)

http://foodha.blogli.co.il/

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Thank you Zeitoun!

It is an amazingly delicious and simple soup, just left the table and felt an urge to let you know we appreciate the recipe. I started it off with lentils and meat stock and went along all your guidance. The proper chard leaves weren't enough so I added some big fresh Turkish spinach leaves.  What I liked most is that there is what I call "layers" of great taste to it. My family is very happy because I made enough for the next day or two.

Boaziko

I'm glad you liked it!!

Again, this is a slight variation from a classic lebanese recipe which i learned from my dad. The "extra layer" of scented olive oil is really what makes this dish great, and this is certainly not my idea, it is an essential step in making a classic "adass bi hamod".

As we say in Lebanon, Sahtayn!!!!


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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I'm very curious to know what are the different ways of preparing lentil soup in North Africa?

Sort of like "tajines" every cook has a different way. :raz: Lentil soup is a poorman's dish, a really delicious one.

General directions for Algerian lentil soup

Take lentils and add what is available.

My recipe for lentil soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

2 fresh small chili peppers, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups dried lentils

4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice

3/4 cup green peas

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add lemon juice to taste.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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That sounds delicious.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Indeed it does sound good, thanks Chefzadi, I'll definitely try this recipe, hopefuly this week end.


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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For an added layer of flavour

Zeitoun's description of this technique

In a separate pan, heat chopped onions and garlic and chopped cilantro in a fair amount of olive oil, let cool and add lots of lemon juice to it (depends on how sour you like it, i like mine really sour) + salt/pepper. The lemon/oil mixture is combined with the cooked lentils before it is served and voila...
can be used. My maman sometimes did this as well.

My maman would probably add all the indgredients for lentil soup pretty much at once. Whereas I saute the aromatics first, than add the rest of the ingredients in steps according to how long they take to cook.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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For an added layer of flavour

Zeitoun's description of this technique

In a separate pan, heat chopped onions and garlic and chopped cilantro in a fair amount of olive oil, let cool and add lots of lemon juice to it (depends on how sour you like it, i like mine really sour) + salt/pepper. The lemon/oil mixture is combined with the cooked lentils before it is served and voila...
can be used. My maman sometimes did this as well.

My maman would probably add all the indgredients for lentil soup pretty much at once. Whereas I saute the aromatics first, than add the rest of the ingredients in steps according to how long they take to cook.

I'm sure this:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

2 fresh small chili peppers, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups dried lentils

4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice

3/4 cup green peas

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste.

is already lots of flavor!! :biggrin:

What kind of consistency and texture do you look for in this soup? How much liquid is needed generally?


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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Enough liquid to cover. My maman's home version would be traditionally softer and mushier than mine. I have to confess *hangs head in shame* my professional training comes into everything I prepare. So the way I cook it the lentils are tender with some bite, not overcooked. And the vegetables are cooked untill just tender and each ingredient should retain a seperate texture and color, which is why I add them at different times. Sometimes I cook the tomato paste with the aromatics before I add anything else, cooking it in a little oil mellows out the flavor.

I love my my maman's version, but I just can't cook it that way myself.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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