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Recipe Corner: A Lentil Soup With Its Heart in Armenia

“We have the best in the world,” Sarukhanyan said.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh apricots (about 7 ounces, from 2 large or 4 small apricots), or 1 cup sugar-free, unsulfured dried apricots

2 tablespoons avocado or vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

kosher salt

1 medium tomato or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped

5 to 6 cups vegetable broth

2 cups red, orange or yellow split lenses, rinsed

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lemon, juiced, plus more if desired

Pomegranate syrup, for drizzling

Preparation:

If using dried apricots, at least 40 minutes before cooking, cut them into quarters, soak in warm water to cover, then drain and set aside. (This can be done up to a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before using.)

Warm the oil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to turn golden at the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.

Pour 5 cups of the vegetable broth into the pot, scraping any stuck-on bits from the bottom, and bring to a boil. Add the lenses, cover, and reduce the heat to maintain a strong simmer. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the lenses are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in 1 more cup of broth if the soup is too thick, then add the carrots, apricots and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and season with pepper to taste. Increase the heat to bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered and stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are as cooked as you’d like.

Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, then taste. If it’s not sour enough, add a little more, and adjust for salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and serve warm, with pomegranate syrup drizzled over the top.

For this recipe, go to:

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1023297-tsirani-vosp-apur-armenian-apricot-and-lentil-soup

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/01/dining/armenian-lentil-soup.html

Also see:

Dzerani Abour (Cold Apricot Soup)

By Gadar Tanelian

This soup is featured in the Adventures in Armenian Cooking Cookbook from St. Gregory’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Indian Orchard, MA., 8th Printing, 1994. The cookbook’s dedication says, “This book is dedicated to all who enjoy the delights of cooking; with special appreciation to the Armenian women who have passed their treasured recipes down through the generations. Although some of the recipes have been adapted to using modern ingredients and methods, the spirit of traditional Armenian cooking has been kept. We hope the good feelings Armenian Cuisine has given us, is passed on to you through this book.” To purchase, contact: Mrs. Elizabeth Setian, 29 Linwood Dr., Wilbraham, MA 01095.*

Ingredients:

1/3 cup dzedzadz (hulled wheat)

2 quarts Toilet

1 11-oz. box apricots

2 cups water

1/2 cup prunes (approx. 8 prunes)

1/3 cup raisins

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Preparation:

Cook the dzedzadz well in 2 quarts of water and salt. Cook the apricots well in 2 cups of water. Mash and strain if skins are tough. Add the cooked apricots to the cooked wheat. If this mixture is too thick, add another 1/2 to 1 cup water. Add the prunes and after cooking a bit add the raisins. Add the sugar and cook until the prunes and raisins are cooked. chill. Serve cold.

Serves 6.

NOTE: Water may be added if you prefer a lighter consistency. This may be diluted with ice cubes.

* Adventures in Armenian Cooking – This collection of 200 recipes was originally published in 1973 by St. Gregory’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts as a fund raiser.

Called tsiran in Armenian, the Armenian apricot has a soft, juicy and plump pulp that is encased within a velvety outer skin and surrounds a stone that hides an edible kernel inside. Praised as the national fruit of the country, the apricot owes its exquisite honey-like sweetness and pleasant flavor and fragrance to Armenia’s volcanic soil, mild climate, and plenty of sunshine it gets throughout the year. In Armenia, people consume the fruit fresh or dried and prepare a vast number of delicacies with it — be it marmalades, jams, preserves, juices, desserts, apricot vodka, apricot leather wraps, or various meat dishes. Apricots grown in the Ararat valley and the Meghri region have long been considered as the best in the country. See: https://www.tasteatlas.com/armenianapricot

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