Tangier Lentil Soup
September, 2016 · By Coryanne Ettiene
When the weather cools I find myself stocking the pantry with grains and pulses, hoarding for the cold days that are hiding behind those autumn nights and longing for a steaming hot bowl of Tangier Lentil Soup. Admittedly, the first time I ever had a bowl of lentil soup, it was well over a 100F on a blindingly hot day in Syria nearly 20 years ago. Nothing had ever tasted so comforting. It was like I was being hugged from the inside with each spoonful, every sip was a whirlwind of creamy nutty spice that lingered and whispered to take one more sip even when you knew you could not possibly fit in another spoonful.
When we opened Ettiene Market in April, I had grand plans of amping up my recipes on the blog to showcase all the culinary delights that stocked the market pantry, but time had other plans for me. Before I knew it, I was barely able to write a blog post a week, let alone amp up my publishing. As the months passed, I started to find my groove between balancing the blog, the media business and the market. I’ve managed to share 2 newsletters with our market shoppers and I’ve finally managed to share 2 market focused recipes, the second of which is this recipe for Tangier Lentil Soup. The soup is named for the La Boîte spice used to bring the ingredients together. It bursts of a a sweet, floral blend of rose petals, cinnamon, and cardamom that honors classic Moroccan cooking, and when you add a touch of heat to the blend, it comes alive to create an unforgettable lentil soup. And while you would never find a North African soup containing ham, I’ve broken code by adding pan fried pancetta to this Tangier Lentil Soup.
Tangier Lentil Soup
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 Spanish Onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon of Tangier N. 23
8 Cups of Chicken stock
1 1/2 Cups of red lentils, rinsed
1/2 Cup of pan fried pancetta
1 fresh chili, sliced
1 Lemon wedge for garnish
Handful of fresh cilantro for garnish
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan on medium low and then add the onion and pancetta. Cook until the onion is soft, and the pancetta is brown; mindful to stir often to avoid burning. Once the onions are translucent, add the Tangier N. 23, chili and garlic, and stir again for another minute. Add the stock and then bring up to medium high heat before adding the lentils. Allow the soup to come to a boil and then reduce the heat to allow it to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, and garnish of fresh cilantro.
Make two batches and freeze the leftovers for those nights when you just need a comforting bowl of soup. Or turn this into a heavier meal by adding roasted chickpeas and grilled chicken to the soup to create more of a stew than a soup. Served with fresh bread or pitta, and a slathering of humous, there is no end to the enjoyment this dish can you bring you on a cold autumn night.