Tsirani Vosp Apur (Armenian Apricot and Lentil Soup)
This soup is best made with fresh apricots, available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores for a few precious weeks in the summer. But when fresh are not in season, Marina Sarukhanyan of Silk Apron Catering, who makes it year-round for her customers, suggests using bright-orange unsulfured apricots, not the dark ones. She usually gets hers from Iranian food stores, but you may be able to find them in Middle Eastern, Armenian or Russian shops as well. Make sure to drizzle the soup with tart pomegranate syrup, which contrasts with the apricots in a lovely way.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½cups roughly chopped fresh apricots (about 7 ounces, from 2 large or 4 small apricots), or 1 cup sugar-free, unsulfured dried apricots
- 2tablespoons avocado or vegetable oil
- 1small onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1medium tomato or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 5to 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2cups red, orange or yellow split lentils, rinsed
- 2medium carrots, roughly chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½lemon, juiced, plus more if desired
- Pomegranate syrup, for drizzling
Step 1If using dried apricots, at least 40 minutes before cooking, cut them into quarters, soak in warm water to cover, then drain and set aside. (This can be done up to a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before using.)
Step 2Warm the oil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to turn golden at the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.
Step 3Pour 5 cups of the vegetable broth into the pot, scraping any stuck-on bits from the bottom, and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, cover, and reduce the heat to maintain a strong simmer. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the lentils are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 4Stir in 1 more cup of broth if the soup is too thick, then add the carrots, apricots and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and season with pepper to taste. Increase the heat to bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered and stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are as cooked as you’d like.
Step 5Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, then taste. If it’s not sour enough, add a little more, and adjust for salt and pepper.
Step 6Ladle into bowls and serve warm, with pomegranate syrup drizzled over the top.