The first time I can recall having had lentil soup was years ago at The Depot Restaurant.
Karen and Ali Dorbayan had come to town (Warrenton) and converted what was the old train station into a fine dining Middle Eastern restaurant. It was a cozy and wonderfully warm and inviting place. Their restaurant was, I’m sure, the first place I had eaten many wonderful Middle Eastern dishes. Today it is Claire’s at the Depot, a continued tradition of fine dining.
This soup is quite easy to make. A lot of chopping is involved, but it is well worth the effort. While I’m sure my recipe can’t compare to Karen’s, it is hearty and will warm you on a cold winter day.
1 pound of dried lentils
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 leeks (white part) sliced
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 medium yellow onions, chopped
1½ teaspoons of ground pepper
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 pound of coarsely chopped carrots
½ pound of coarsely chopped celery
1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
6 cups of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 pound of sliced kielbasa
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
In a large pot heat the olive oil and add the leeks, garlic, onions, salt, pepper and cumin and cook until the onions are translucent, maybe for 15 minutes over a medium temperature. While the onions are cooking, put the lentils in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover and let them soak. Once the onions are translucent add the carrots, celery and thyme and cook for another 10 minutes. After the carrots have cooked, drain the lentils and add them to the vegetables. Add the chicken broth and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back to a simmer cook for 50 minutes. Add the kielbasa and cook for 10 more minutes and just before serving add the red wine vinegar.
When the soup is ready, I serve it with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cumin. Warmed pita bread would be my choice of bread to serve with it.