Lentil Soup


        3 cups lentils
        1/2 cup rice (optional)
        1/2 cup samneh, or other shortening
        1 cup chopped onions
        1 1/2 tsp. salt
Another good old fashioned soup is this one developed, of necessity, by Lebanese mountain villages when their winter diet consisted mainly of those foods which they dried in the summer and stored in earthenware jars or homespun sacks for winter eating.

Soak lentils in cold water overnight. Wash and pick over. Place in pressure cooker with water to cover them about an inch. Cook under pressure for 15 minutes. Pass the soup through a sieve or food mill. Add water to desired consistency. Fry onions in hot fat until bro~vn and add to soup. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt. Serve thick and hot with squares of crisp fried bread.

To prepare in open kettle: Wash lentils. Pick them over. Boil until soft. Pass through sieve or food mill. Add fried onions and salt. Add more water if necessary and simmer for 10 minutes. To either method, add cooked rice if desired (one half cup before cooking). To enhance flavor, braise a beef or lamb bone in a small amount of fat and add to soup at beginning of cooking. Dried pea soup may be prepared in the same way but omit rice.

(From Food from the Arab World Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)