So for the last month I have been reading cookbooks, of course starting with "Please to the Table". Since it was written in 1990, it contains various "Soviet" region's recipes, not just traditional Russian fare. I read it, cover to cover, and then put it back on the shelf (actually back on the dryer because I haven't made room for the 50+ new books yet).
Then I found a new blog friend- Amy- (check her out at http://cupcakeandthecaseys.blogspot.com/) who also loves to cook and is waiting for her little Russian cupcake to come home too. She had made a few delicious looking dishes and posted them on her blog and I thought "I didn't see anything that looked like that in a Russian recipe book......" So after a few chats about our love of shopping and cooking, we decided it would be fun to have a cross country Russian cook-off. We agreed on 7 or 8 dishes and decided to TRY to cook the same recipe once a week; the first being "Armenian Lentil and Apricot Soup" or "Vospapur". So tonight was the night. Unfortunately, Chad went to a concert tonight, but not to worry.....the soup made about 8 servings. *Honey-your soup is in the fridge- LOTS of it* Should have cut this one in half.
3 T. Olive Oil
1 lg. onion, finely chopped
2 lg. garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. dried, split, red lentils, well rinsed
5 c. Chicken Stock
3 med. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 teas. ground cumin (I would use a lot less)
1/2 teas. dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T. fresh lemon juice
Opt.: Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (I only bought this because I knew I would be posting a picture and wanted it to look pretty for you.....)
1. In large soup pot heat oil. Saute onion, garlic, and apricots. Stir until onion is soft. (This says 12 minutes, but mine took about 2 minutes)
2. Add lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for about 30 minutes until lentils are soft.
3. Stir in tomatoes, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered for about 10 more minutes.
4. Remove half the soup and puree in a food processor (Note from Sarah: if you puree it all it will look like something that came from a diaper, trust me on this people). Return the puree to the pot, stir in lemon juice and more salt and pepper if you wish. Simmer 2-3 more minutes.
5. Sprinkle with parsley.
So- I bet you're dying to find out. How did it taste? Well- it was interesting. I would best describe it as "middle eastern vegetarian chili" It was very filling, very hardy, and very inexpensive to make. It tasted like it had meat in it and it warmed me right up. When I dipped the crusty bread it in, it kinda reminded me of hummus. The apricots were also a really yummy touch. They added a nice layer of flavor. Now- what I didn't love-
1- The color! Amy and I couldn't find red lentils, so we decided the brownish red would suffice. I'm sure it didn't effect the flavor, just the eye appeal. (See: Diaper)
2- The cumin! (Usually I love cumin in southwestern foods, but that just was too much! I think I might even substitute a nice smoked paprika next time. I think that would help the color too.....
Overall, I would call tonight a success. Interesting.....but a success! Stay tuned next week for "Moldavian White Bean Soup" Uhhhh...What's a moldavian? Just kidding ;0)