Our favorite Lentil soup is as follows:
Lentil Soup with a hint of fruit
2 cups red or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
· cups water (maybe more)
2 cups minced onion (I chop mine in my little Oster processor)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons minced garlic (ditto processor)
1 cup minced dried apricots
1 ½-2 teaspoons salt to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste, we like lots)
Black pepper and cayenne to taste
Place the lentils and water in a soup pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the onion, cumin and mustard, and continue to simmer, covered, until the lentils are very soft (about 15 more minutes. Add small amounts of additional water if it seems too thick.
Turn off the burner.
Add the garlic, apricots, and salt, cover, and let sit for another 15 minutes of so. Stir in the vinegar, black pepper, and cayenne to taste and correct the salt too if necessary. At this point the soup will keep for several days.
Heat gently just before serving and serve hot topped with a few slivers of dried apricot, a drizzle of yogurt and a sprig of cilantro or parsley, if desired.