Monday, January 17, 2011

Max Klinger's Lebanese Love Stew

First, a few words about the name of this soup... The "Lebanese" part is because the soup this was originally supposed to be is a traditional Lebanese recipe. The "Max Klinger" part is because this soup is a complete screw-up. (If you don't know who Max Klinger is, shame on you.) I started cooking before I checked the cabinets for the recipe ingredients, and almost immediately I had to punt. I won't bore you with the numerous substitutions I made, or the things I added simply on a whim, but the end result is a soup so far removed from the recipe it was supposed to be that it's something entirely new. I have no idea if anything about this soup is still Lebanese, but it turned out pretty darn good!

Yield: 6-8 servings
Start to finish: 30 minutes

Max Klinger's Lebanese Love Stew
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 T salt
1 C lentils (dry)
8 C water or vegetable broth (important: if you use broth, make sure it's low sodium or reduce/eliminate the salt above)
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
4 C baby spinach
1 T coriander
1 t cinnamon
salt to taste (be sure to taste!)
1/4 C lemon juice, or 1 lemon, sliced

1. In a stock pot, saute the leeks and garlic in the olive oil until the leeks are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and stir well.
2. Add the lentils and saute for 1 minute.
3. Add water/broth, carrots, and potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes until lentils are softened.
4. Stir in spinach, coriander, and cinnamon, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
5. Add a splash of lemon juice to each bowl before serving (squeeze 1 slice of lemon into each bowl, or stir in about 1/2 t bottled juice).

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