Monks’ soup

Monks’ soup

By
From
Alimentari
Serves
8
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

Monks’ soup is a Lebanese dish traditionally eaten only on Good Friday. Which is a shame, because the borderline-sour taste is so flavoursome and incredibly moreish. It’s Good Friday a lot at my house.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
90g brown lentils
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Spinach kibbeh filling

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 bunch spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon see method for ingredients
1/4 teaspoon salt

Dumplings

Quantity Ingredient
220g fine burghul
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon see method for ingredients
225g plain flour
2 teaspoons salt

Method

  1. To make the spinach kibbeh filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry fry until translucent, then add the spinach and cook until softened. Add the baharat and salt, and cook, stirring, until the spinach has wilted.
  2. To make the dumpling dough, first rinse the burghul under cold water and drain well. Combine with the other ingredients and gradually add water until the mixture forms a dough. (This mixture will be used to make one spinach kibbeh per person, and the remainder to make the dumplings.)
  3. Set yourself up with a bowl of iced water. To form the kibbeh, first dip your hands in the water (to prevent the mixture from sticking) and roll a golf ball-sized ball of the dumpling mixture using the palms of your hands.
  4. Dip your index finger into the water and poke into the ball, creating a hollow. Turn the ball by pressing it against the palm of your hand to create an oval-shaped cup. Place 1 teaspoon of the spinach into the cup, then bring together the opening and seal. It’s easier to dampen your hands at this point and begin to mould the ball in the palm of your hand until it resembles an oval football-shape. Make one kibbeh per person.
  5. Roll the remaining dumpling mixture into marble-sized balls. Set aside.
  6. Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain well. Place in a large saucepan and cover with 2.5 litres of water and bring to the boil over medium heat. Once boiling add another 500 ml of cold water (this prevents the lentils from splitting), then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Carefully add the kibbeh and dumplings, then stir in the garlic, pomegranate molasses, salt and oil. Cover and cook over medium heat for a further 30 minutes.
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