lentil bulgur soup

When dr bob joined forces with ms_ani in the early 1990s, he became a regular appreciator of the cooking talents of his Armenian mother-in-law Isgouhi, originally from the food mecca city of Aleppo, Syria and later Anjar, Lebanon. Early on bob realized this no recipe home cooking needed some documentation, so he started writing down dictated recipes in a special ring-bound notebook whenever a dish was really good, which was pretty often. Later on when the cooking team tried to reproduce some of these ourselves, we came up a bit short, and found out from the source that the teaspoons and tablespoon units in the dictation were usually heaping quantities, so we had to boost up a bit the spices. Many of these were then upgraded to our cookbook, but a few were left behind.

Lentil bulgur pilaf is a frequent dish on the menu, but now that this has been resurrected, it should join the regular lineup. A really hearty healthy satisfying soup that rivals the lentil soups bob has enjoyed in middle eastern restaurants, like bitars in south philly. And it really doesn't take that much work.

ingredients

bulky stuff
1 c lentils
1/4 c bulgur number 3 or 4 (half-cut)
2 medium potatoes, peeled  and small cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped (if you have them, we didn't that first time in 2011 that generated this recipe)
1 bunch of Swiss chard (washed and chopped) or 6 oz frozen spinach, thawed of course
4 c warm water
spices and flavors
1/4 t allspice
1 t salt, to taste
1 t black pepper
3/8 t Middle Eastern red pepper
1 T tomato paste, dissolved in 1 c hot water
1 cube chicken or veggie stock or equivalent
1 lemon, juice of
  finishers
1/4 c olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly

instructions

  1. Prepare the veggies.
  2. Rinse the lentils. Cover with water, bring to a boil and when the foam collects on the surface, remove from the heat and rinse in warm water.
  3. Combine with the rest of the major ingredients (bulky stuff) and bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat.
  4. When the potatoes are softened, add in all the spices and flavors and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste for doneness of the various components. Check for spices. This requires someone with a spice sense, which dr bob lacks. ms_ani does this for the cooking team.
  5. If the broth is too thick for your tastes, you can add in some more (hot) water.
  6. Meanwhile brown the onion in the olive oil until crisp.
  7. When almost ready, stir in the onion and olive oil mixture and cook another 5 minutes.

notes

  1. It was hard to pin Isgouhi down on exactly one set of instructions because she varies her procedure according to her whims. But this seems to be in agreement with her daughter, and Ani impressed bob with her version so we'll stick with it. Lentil soup is common in many variations around the Mediterranean. This one seems to have Anjarian influence.
  2. Illustrations available.
lentilbulgursoup.htm: 27-jan-2011 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]