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Lentil Soup with Lamb Meatballs

Lentil Soup with Lamb Meatballs
Lentils cook very quickly, which is one of the characteristics that make them ideal for use in soups and stews. Although they have a rich, nutty flavor, they tend to absorb and enhance the flavors of whatever they're cooked with.

The extra effort in this recipe is well worth it in the final flavor extravaganza!
Ingredients:

Soup:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
1/2 cup carrot, peeled and diced
7 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 celery stalk
1 branch fresh parsley
1 branch fresh thyme
1 pound golden lentils
10 cups chicken stock
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Dash Tabasco

Meatballs:
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup blanched almonds
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup raisins, chopped
1 egg, beaten
3 cloves peeled and minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Dash Tabasco
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , plus some more for drizzling

Directions:

 

The Soup:

 

Use a large saucepan to heat the olive oil, then add the onion, carrot, garlic, turmeric, and cumin. Stir and cook over high heat until the onions become glassy in appearance, which should take about five minutes.


In the meantime, make a bouquet garni by tying together the celery, the parsley, and they thyme. Add the bouquet garni to the pan.

 

Stir in the golden lentils and the chicken stock, then season lightly with salt, pepper, and the Tabasco.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

 

 

The Meatballs:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Use a small bowl to soak the breadcrumbs in milk.


Combine the lamb, almonds, soaked bread crumbs, onion, raisins, egg, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and Tabasco in a large mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle some olive oil on the plate you will place the meatballs on so that they won't stick. Rub oil into the palm of both hands.  Form the meat mixture into 40 balls about one inch in diameter.


Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet and arrange the meatballs in one layer on top of the hot oil. Sear them quickly over high heat.  Place the skillet in the hot oven and cook until they're well browned and firm to the touch. Turn to brown all sides. They should cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
 

 

Garnish:

 

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until serving time.
 

 

To Serve:


Remove the bouquet garni.  Use an immersion blender to mix the soup until it's basically smooth, but still with some texture.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

 

Ladle the soup into 8 or 10 soup bowls.  Divide the meatballs among the bowls and drizzle with the yogurt garnish.  Serve immediately.

 



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