I haven’t done a weekend soup post for three years!!! So let’s just say that this is a very irregular series, but a series nonetheless that I’ll try and continue.
Being at home for most of winter this year, I’ve been making soups aplenty. The inspiration for this one occurred as I was walking past Zaatar a couple of weeks ago and saw that their soup of the day was silverbeet and lentil. ‘It can’t be hard’ I thought to myself and set about finding a recipe in one of my zillions of cookbooks. First port of call was Tess Mallos’ The Complete Middle East Cookbook (1979) and there I found what I was looking for. If you are interested in Middle Eastern cookery, this is an excellent cook book to have in terms of its scope. It ranges from the Levant to the Mediterranean and the Gulf States. I do recommend it.
This soup is simple, tasty and wholesome. It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly and the recipe makes enough for a filling supper or lunch for five to six people.
Adas Bis Silq (Lentil and Silverbeet Soup)
1 1/2 cups of brown lentils
6 cups cold water (I did add a couple of stock cubes towards the end of the cooking process for a stronger flavour)
8-10 silverbeet leaves
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of lemon juice
lemon wedges for serving
Tip: Do not omit the lemon or coriander. You really need these to boost the flavour of the soup.
Wash lentils well and place in a heavy pan with the cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming as necessary, then cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the lentils are soft.
While the lentils are cooking, wash the silverbeet and cut off the stems (Ok, so I think this is personal preference. I really like silverbeet stems so I used most of them in the soup). Slit the leaves down the middle and then shred coarsely.
Heat oil in a separate pan, add onion and fry gently until transparent. Stir in the garlic and cook for a few seconds longer. Next add the shredded silverbeet to the same pan and fry, stirring often until the leaves wilt.
Pour this mixture into the lentils and add the coriander, salt and pepper to taste and the lemon juice. Cover and simmer gently for further 15-20 minutes.
Serve with the lemon wedges and bread (Tess Mallos suggests khoubiz, a Lebanese flat bread).
I’m listening to: Kelis, The Hits (and going to see her next week).
From the garden: Coriander.