French Lentil Soup with Cilantro

adapted from Suvir Saran's American Masala cookbook

13 cups water
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
1 large red onion, quartered and sliced
2 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups green French lentils
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous or brown rice
chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
fresh lemon wedges, for serving

Place 1 cup of water next to the stovetop.  Heat the oil with the cumin in a large soup pot over medium heat until cumin is browned, about 2 minutes. Add chili flakes and ground peppercorns, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and salt, and cook until onion is deep browned and crispy, 15-20 minutes, adjusting the heat to medium-low as needed to prevent from burning.  Stir often and splash with water, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pot when the onions begin to stick.  

Add 2 cups of water along with the lentils and the turmeric to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 10 more cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.  

Stir in the couscous and return the soup to a boil.  Cook, partially covered, until the couscous is al dente. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.  Let the lentil soup stand for 30 minute to 2 hours to thicken.  

Before serving, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice.

This printable recipe is from Jeanette's Healthy Living