Red Lentil and Apricot Soup

This is the most common of Turkish dishes served all day long, even for breakfast.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 95g (½ cup) dried apricots, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 (400g) tin (can) chopped tomatoes
  • 135g (2/3 cup) dried red lentils
  • 1 litre (4 ¼ cups) vegetable broth, warmed
  • 10 thyme sprigs, only leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and turn sweet, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic, apricots, and cumin seeds; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the juices from the can, stir well.
  1. Add the lentils, pour in the broth, and increase the heat to medium-high. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is barely bubbling, taste and season. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 20 minutes.
  1. Stir in the thyme leaves and lemon juice, then remove from the heat.
  1. Use an immersion (stick) blender to blend about half the soup in the pot, leaving the rest to give the soup texture. (Alternatively, you can transfer half the soup to a blender, puree, and return it to the pot.) Add the salt and pepper, taste, and add more as needed.
  1. The soup can be made 2 days ahead, store in the fridge and warm through before serving. Serve hot.