Recipe for Turkish red lentil soup

food styling/sheryl Julian; Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Serves 6

Top these bowls with fresh mint and crushed red peppers. What’s especially nice are Maras or Urfa peppers, available at Middle Eastern shops, which offer a slightly smoky warmth. With the addition of rice or bulgur to thicken the pot, plus chickpeas (dried and soaked overnight, or canned), you have a nutritious, vegetarian bowl full of interesting textures.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 jalapeno or other
hot pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon crushed
red pepper, or to taste
½ cup chickpeas, soaked
overnight and drained or
1 can (16 ounces)
chickpeas, drained
2 cups dried red lentils
¼ cup long-grain white rice or fine bulgur
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup whole peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
quarts water
Extra crushed red pepper (for sprinkling)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
(for garnish)

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1. In a soup pot, heat the oil. When it is hot, add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes. Add the jalapeno and salt. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 2 minutes more.

2. Add the cumin, paprika, and red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the spices are aromatic.

3. Add the chickpeas, lentils, and rice or bulgur. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until they are coated with spices. Stir in the tomato paste and tomatoes.

4. Add the water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam from the surface of the liquid. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender and the lentils have almost turned into a puree. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and crushed red pepper, if you like.

5. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with extra crushed red pepper and fresh mint. Sheryl Julian