Egyptian Lentil Soup
1 cup split red lentils
3 teaspoons cumin seeds, divided
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic gloves chopped, divided
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
2 leeks, washed and sliced
2 beets, peeled and cubed
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Rinse lentils until water runs clear. Dry-roast cumin seeds in a small pan until they are aromatic; grind them to a powder.
In a large pot, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion and 2 garlic cloves. Sauté until soft; stir in 2 teaspoons ground cumin.
Add potatoes, leeks and beets, stir well and cover pot. Sauté vegetables lightly on low heat until they start to soften. Add red lentils, stock and enough water to cover vegetables well.
Bring to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat. Simmer until lentils are soft and begin to break down, adding water as necessary (lentils soak up a lot of water during cooking). Skim off any foam and discard.
Blend soup in a food processor until smooth; stir in lemon juice and add salt and pepper.
To make garnish, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small pan; sauté remaining 4 garlic cloves until light brown. Add remaining ground cumin; sauté a few seconds more. Pour a little on to the surface of each serving of soup; top with chopped parsley.
Makes 4 servings.