Here is a light lentil soup made Southwestern rather than Middle Eastern by the addition of green chiles and lime juice. It can be served in summer as well as winter and is eminently easy to fix.
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
6 cups water, and additional water as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried mint, thyme, or oregano
3 bay leaves
1/4 to 1/2 cup canned chopped mild green chiles
1 bell pepper, deveined, seeded and cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup lime juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place the first 7 ingredients into a 3-quart pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface, cover the pot, and boil gently until lentils are thoroughly soft - this takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.
Place the green chiles and 1 cup of the soup into a food processor and process continuously until pureed. Return mixture to the soup in the pot.
Wipe the processor bowl with a paper towel or rinse lightly, then finely chop first the bell pepper and then the carrot in it, using repeated pulses of the motor and stopping at least once to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the bell pepper and then the carrot to the soup. From this point, the soup can be held off heat until serving time, or you can proceed directly to the final step.
When you are ready to serve, bring the soup back to a boil (but do not cook at this temperature for more than a minute since you want the bell pepper and carrot to remain crisp), taste for seasoning and add more water to adjust the texture - the soup should be thick enough to coat a spoon but not porridgy. Stir in the lime juice and olive oil, warm through for a few seconds more and serve.
For about 6 cups, serving 4 to 6.
Source: Fiesta of Santa Fe
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