Rain, Rain Go Away –
My first day in Tangier, I arrived at the little gem riad in the heart of the Kasbah on the highest peak of the medina of Tangier, La Tangerina. Mustapha dropped me off for a brief break before I went out with my guide to explore the souks.
The charming Spanish owner, Farida, offered me the loveliest suite, up three flights of very narrow steps, the view and my private terrace left no doubt in my mind the trek was worth the panoramic views across the Straits of Gibraltar.
Someone quickly appeared with a snack of warm lentil soup, a fluffy cheese omelet with greens and a fruit salad of tangerines and pomegranate seeds; and of course, the heavenly warm bread that is served everywhere in Morocco and salty black olives, the quintessential lunch in Morocco!
This was one of the best Lentil Soups I’ve ever tasted. Farida used Red Lentils, I have French Green lentils, so this is my interpretation – I think her magic is the sweet paprika, cumin and a little ginger.
Oh, I also add a fat slice of Applewood Smoked Uncured Ham, chopped into fine pieces, Muslims don’t eat pork, but I like the smokiness it adds to the soup.
Total Time: 1 Hour
1 Thick slice of Applewood Ham, chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14.5-oz can dice tomatoes I used 4 fresh tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth Vegetable broth or water (she used water)
1 cup French lentils (lentilles du Puy), or red lentils
1 teaspoon salt I brought home salt from Spain
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sweet Paprika – I don’t measure – so to taste.
I also brought Paprika home from Madrid
Heat Olive oil and add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with their juices), broth, lentils, ham and spices.
Bring to a boil. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 45 to 50 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until the broth is slightly thickened, or to desired consistency.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer about 2 cups of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth, then return the blended soup to the pot. She used a blender, but I found my immersion blender was fine.
Frida mentioned she adds fresh pumpkin in Autumn.
I’ve prepared this yummy hearty soup twice since my return from Morocco.
Simple ingredients, but )شكراً( !oh so delicious! Shukran Farida!