When cooking red lentils, first they turn yellow but keep their shape
As you continue to cook, lentils will start softening
After fully cooked and mixed with a mixer, lentils will look smooth
For vegetarian/vegan version, please use water instead of chicken broth.
2 cups red lentils
6+1 cups chicken broth or water
½ cup olive oil
1 small onion (about ½ cup) chopped
3 cloves garlic mashed
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Crushed red chili to taste (or paprika)
¼ cup fine (Number 1) bulgur (cracked wheat)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and drain lentils. In a large pot combine 6 cups of broth or water and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer until lentils are cooked, about 15-20 minutes. They will first turn yellow but will look intact, then as they cook they will start dissolving into a mash. Remove pot from heat, set aside. Using a hand held blender, mix the lentil soup about 1 minute until it looks smooth.
In a skillet, sauté onions in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and tomato sauce, red pepper and cumin, stir. Slowly add remaining 1 cup of broth or water as you continue to stir. Add this mixture to the lentil soup in the pot. In a fine strainer wash bulgur and add to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place over medium heat. When it starts to boil, reduce heat to low, let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
You may need to add more water to achieve desired consistency.
Often I save some of this soup in smaller containers in the freezer. On a cold day it comes in handy as a starter or even as a main dish.