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Turkish Lamb & Red Lentil Soup with Harissa

The soup to lift anybody's spirits. The homemade harissa takes any soup to next level and adds a gorgeous spice to the Turkish inspired dish.

Turkish Lamb & Red Lentil Soup with Harissa

Serves 4-6

500g lamb, diced
2 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, diced
2 large celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp tomato paste
800g crushed tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
1½ cups red lentils
2 bay leaves
1 large bunch fresh mint, chopped
toasted bread, to serve
½ preserved lemon, skin diced, pulp discarded, to serve

Harissa

2 red capsicums
2 tbsp coriander seeds
4 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp chilli paste or flakes
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
150ml olive oil

To make harissa, preheat oven to 200°C. Place capsicums on a baking tray; roast until skins begin to blister.

Remove from oven and place whole capsicums in a plastic bag and seal. When cool, peel off skin and discard the seeds and membranes.

Combine coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a dry pan. Fry for 2 minutes then grind finely in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

In a food processor combine ground seeds with peppers, salt, chilli, paprika and tomato paste; reduce to a thick paste. Add olive oil slowly with the machine running. Place in a clean jar or container; set aside.

Brown lamb in a large saucepan over a medium heat with olive oil. Add extra olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook until just starting to colour.

Add 2 tablespoons of harissa, cinnamon, paprika, ginger and tomato paste, cook for 5-6 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, lentils and 
bay leaves. Cover saucepan 
and cook until lentils are soft and flavours have combined, about 45-50 minutes.

Just before serving add fresh mint. Serve with toasted bread, diced preserved lemon and extra harissa.
TIP: Harissa can be stored in the fridge for months as long as the surface is covered with oil.

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