Renee's Recipes from
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Tomato and Red Lentil Soup
 with Dried Apricots and Lime  

Even though spring is clearly on its way, there are still a lot of chilly, windy days that call for enjoying some warming soup. Here is an unusual and delicious soup recipe from my forthcoming new cookbook.
I originally served this soup years ago at a wonderful dinner up in Northern California's redwood country, where great food is a treasure often found.
If you put up your summer garden bounty, this makes good use of last season's canned tomatoes. I often make this tasty and not at all heavy soup, serve it for dinner once and then freeze all the rest in individual containers to heat up for warm, comforting lunches.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
8 cups chicken broth
4 large fresh tomatoes, diced (or, in winter, use a l4 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (reserve juice for another use)
l 1/2 cups rinsed and drained red lentils
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
l tablespoon chopped fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (fresh lemon juice can substitute as desired)
6-8 drops bottled hot sauce, like Tabasco
salt and pepper

GARNISH
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or use cilantro depending on which you like best and can get easily
very fresh plain yogurt or sour cream (low-fat okay)

In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add the cumin and chopped apricots. Sauté, stirring for l minute. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until lentils are very tender.

Purée half of the soup mixture in a blender or food processor and process until blended and smooth. Return the purée to the saucepan. Stir in the parsley and thyme. Heat for 5 minutes, then add lime juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings – you may want to add more hot sauce to taste, if you like it.

Serve hot in bowls garnished with chopped basil or cilantro and fresh plain yogurt.
Makes about 9 cups, serves 8

Find more great garden-inspired recipes in
 Renee's Cookbooks:

Recipes from a Kitchen Garden
More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden

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