Monday, December 24, 2012

Lentil Soup (Vegetarian). Making Our Own Food.

When we were young, we used to make our own food, from scratch (or grains). We made Zaatar, olive  oil, and grew our own vegetables.

 The fondest memories I have are of making burgul (crushed wheat). We cleaned the grains and washed off all the pebbles and dirt, then we had our annual boiling party (think our whole extended family, our town, and passerby's from the next town): We placed the wheat in a big barrel on a big fire to boil. (How do we stir the wheat? Just borrow shovel from the construction workers and clean it.)

 It was wonderful. The smell of the fresh wheat, with brown sugar, walnuts and raisins always warmed our cold October afternoons.

  Growing up, I never realized that this was rare, but I appreciated it, because I participated in all the hard work that went into it. Making our own food was never easy, but it was a beautiful, authentic, and a tasty way of life. I do miss those days.

 (If you're wondering how boiled wheat becomes burgul: spread the boiled wheat on the roof to dry, then hand- pick all the pebbles, then it all heads for crushing.)

 The soup today is incredibly simple, but very tasty. It's very traditional in the Lebanese mountain villages.

Recipe: Red Lentil Soup (Vegetarian)

  • 1 cup red lentils.
  • 1 tbspoon cumin.
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley.
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion.
  • 1/4 cup white rice.
  • 5 tbspoons butter.
  • 5 tbspoons olive oil.
  • 3/4 tbspoon black pepper.
  • 1teaspoon salt.

  1. Boil 1 cup lentils with 1 tbspoon cumin with plenty of water (like 4 cups) for 30 minutes.
  2. Add parsley, onion, rice, butter, olive oil and black pepper. Boil for another 35-40 mins. (Add water if necessary).
  3. Add salt.
  4. Process the soup in the food processor, to make it smooth.

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