Lentil soup with Moroccan spices is what this recipe is all about. I created it while at The French Culinary Institute and still keep the recipe written on a scrap of paper stuffed inside a book with all my grandmother’s recipes. Let’s just say if your smitten with Pret’s Moroccan Lentil, you’ll love this recipe.

The star in this soup is the Ras el Hanout, or “Head of Shop.” This aromatic spice blend is typically made from cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, peppers, turmeric and about 10 to 100 other spices. I found the recipe below many years ago and love it. Sometimes I have all of the spices, sometimes not and it’s still richly flavorful.

Makes 4 Servings

1 medium onion
2 carrots, small dice
2 ribs celery, small dice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil
1 tablespoon ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mixture, or see recipe below to make your own)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cups French Puy Lentils
6 to 8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (you can also use water)
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

Hemp seeds
Chopped fresh spinach or kale
Chopped fresh cilantro
Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika
A squeeze of lemon
Colorful radishes, sliced into matchsticks

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger for about 1 minute.

Add the lentils, carrots, celery, zucchini, ras el hanout, cumin, and salt. Mix well so that the lentils and vegetables are thoroughly coated. Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth or water and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Thin the soup with water or warm broth if it becomes too
thick. Puree half of the soup in a Vita Mix or high speed blender. Return to pot and stir. Serve warm and enjoy.

RAS EL HANOUT “Head of the Shop”

2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cardamom
2 teaspoons ground mace
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

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