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Spicy Lentil Soup with Saffron and Cilantro

By Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann

This version of lentil soup has a nice Middle Eastern flavor and is just a little bit special for company. Serve in small bowls for a first course, or large ones for a main course with salad and bread.

Serves 8 to 12
Cooker: Large round or oval
Setting and Cook Time: LOW for 7 to 9 hours

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium-size carrot, minced
One 16-ounce can solid-pack whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
3 cups dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Large pinch of powdered saffron
1/3 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
Plain yogurt for serving

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring a few times, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Place in the slow cooker, along with the tomatoes and their juice, lentils, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Add water to come about 3 inches above the vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours.

2. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the saffron and cilantro. Add water to thin if the soup is too thick. Ladle into serving bowls and serve hot, topped with a dollop of yogurt.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker: Recipes for Entertaining

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