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Lamb and Lentil Soup
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2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground lamb or lamb sausage, if available, removed from the casing
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/4 cups dried lentils, picked through and rinsed
6 cups Chicken or Beef Stock (see page 225 or 226)
1/2 cup strained yogurt (see Cook's Tip)
Serves 6 To 8
Heat the oil in a small stockpot or Dutch oven set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the lamb to the pan and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the lamb until browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the lamb to a bowl and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of the mint, the salt and pepper to the same pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Stir in the brandy and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
Process half the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pan, stir in the browned lamb and cook for 5 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into shallow soup bowls and top with the yogurt and the remaining chopped mint.
Strained yogurt is a creamy topping that adds wonderful flavor to soups. To make strained yogurt, place 1 cup palain yogurt in a yogurt strainer, a mesh strainer that has been lined with paper towels or a coffee filter. Set the strainer over a bowl, cover and drain in the refrigerator for 5 hours or overnight.
Wine Suggestion - Cabernet Sauvignon
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