Sunday, February 24, 2008


Spices are fascinating people. Seriously. Think about it. You know them.

Pepper is the tall, dark and handsome guy you wish you knew. A little distant, gorgeous, but fickle. Goes with a lot of dishes.

So to speak.

Saffron is the elegant blonde in the crowd. The one that wears Shalimar and little black dresses and goes to the best parties.

Then there’s Turmeric. He’s the guy that loves leisure suits, loud and always has a joke to tell. But he gets the job done.

Cinnamon, that cute redhead. She changes her tune so fast, she’s deep and spicy and altogether different on many occasions.

Ginger. What can you say about her. She’s hot. She’s sexy. Up for anything.

You get these guys together and you’ve got something going. And in this soup, they do something to lentils and chickpeas that showcases each one of their strong points. It’s at once comforting, to the point, sensual and elegant. Different and familiar at the same time.

Perfect for a cold Sunday night.

2 cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 - 14 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ stick butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3.4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1-½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 lbs fresh tomatoes, pureed in food processor
Good pinch of saffron threads
Big grating of fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked
Coarse salt to taste

In large Dutch oven, put lentils and water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered, until lentils are done, takes about an hour. Stir in tomato puree.
Then add garbanzos.

In 10 inch skillet melt butter over medium heat add the onion and saute until starts to soften. This takes about five minutes. Add turmeric, celery and parsley and cook about five minutes. Add cinnamon and cook for ten minutes. Take off the heat and add the saffron, ginger and pepper. Add to the lentil mixture. Simmer covered 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, add pasta to soup. Add coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with a big dollop of Greek Yogurt or sour cream and fresh parsley.

Serves 6.


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