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Iraqi Lentil and Meatball Soup

Serves: 6-8

2 medium onions, minced
500g (1 pound) ground beef or lamb or both
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt plus salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 cups homemade chicken broth
1 pound brown or yellow lentils
55g (about 2 ounces) angel hair pasta
2 carrots, finely diced
Juice of half a lemon

Preheat an oven to 200C (400F), and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Place half of the onions and the ground meat, parsley, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and allspice in a medium-sized bowl. Mix the meat mixture thoroughly, and form into balls the size of walnuts. Place on the baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

Meanwhile, pick any stones from the lentils, place in bowl, cover with cold water, and drain.

In a large pot, sauté the remaining onions in olive oil over medium heat until golden. Add the chicken broth and bring to boil. Add the lentils and the carrots to the soup and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are almost tender.

Break the angel hair pasta into the soup and add the meatballs. Simmer slowly for another 5-10 minutes or until the lentils and noodles are cooked, adding more chicken broth or water as needed. Just before serving, squeeze some lemon juice into soup.