This recipe is my attempt to create a soup similar to the one served at Reza’s restaurant. The secret ingredient is sumac. Sumac is a sour spice used almost like salt in some parts of the Middle East. It’s also an ingredient of za'atar, a table seasoning frequently sprinkled on flat breads.
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook until softened (a few minutes). Add the garlic, then, in a minute add the tomatoes and chicken stock.
Simmer for about 20 minutes, season, and let it cool. Puree the soup, then strain back into the pot. This removes tomato skins and most seeds. Add the lentils and return to a low simmer.
Taste a lentil in about 15 minutes to see if it’s tender. If not, continue cooking, but don’t let them get mushy. Add the sumac and parsley. Taste for seasoning and add lemon juice if you like.
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