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Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup
Kevin Weeks for NPR /

This is my re-creation of Mah'moud's lentil soup. The most distinctive element of this recipe is the lemongrass (which is my addition) and the lemon wedges, which Mah'moud always served. I use smoked turkey legs from my supermarket's meat department to make the stock.

Makes 6 servings

For the Stock:

1 roasted turkey carcass (a smoked turkey carcass or smoked turkey leg is better, and a smoked ham hock also works)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered

1 large carrot, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 stalk celery with greens attached, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 stalk lemongrass

1 bay leaf

20 whole peppercorns

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced

1 pound dried green lentils, washed and picked over

1 large carrot, grated

Zest of 1 large lemon

1 teaspoon salt

Fresh lemons, cut into quarters

Preparing the Stock:

Break the turkey carcass (or turkey leg or ham hock) into pieces and place in a stock pot and the remaining stock ingredients. Add enough water to cover completely, place over high heat and bring almost to a boil, but don't boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 hours, skimming off any scum that forms. Add additional water as needed to keep ingredients covered.

Remove carcass from pot. Pick off any meat, and chop finely. Strain broth into another pot or container and discard solids (except for any meat that may have fallen off, which should be chopped).

Preparing the Soup:

Clean pot and wipe dry. Add olive oil and heat to medium. Saute diced onion until it begins to brown. Add lentils, grated carrots, lemon zest and salt. Add enough stock to cover lentils to a depth of 1 1/2 inches.

Bring just barely to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding additional stock or water to keep the lentils under 1/2 inch of liquid. Remove from heat and stir in any chopped meat and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

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