Tunisian Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Lentils

Servings: 4
Total time: 90min +8h
Ingredients

1 cup uncooked chickpeas
1 cup uncooked lentils (any kind)
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 to 3 bay leaves
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
black pepper and cayenne to taste
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

Optional toppings
yogurt
minced fresh parsley or mint
a few currants"

Procedure

1. Place the soaked, uncooked chickpeas in a large pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 1 hour. (If you're using canned chickpeas, rinse and drain them, and set them aside.)

2. Add the lentils and cinnamon stick, partially cover again, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the chickpeas and lentils are perfectly tender, but not mushy. (If you're using canned chickpeas, just cook the lentils with the cinnamon stick in 7 cups water until tender-about 30 minutes.)

3. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, and drain the legumes, saving the water.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, ground cumin, and bay leaves, and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft.

5. Add 6 cups of water (including the reserved cooking water from the lentils) and the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for another 15 minutes or so. (The timing does not need to be exact.) Fish out and discard the bay leaves.

6. Stir in the chickpeas and lentils, and cook for only about 5 minutes longer, so the legumes won't become mushy.

7. Season to taste with black pepper, cayenne, and lemon juice.

8. Serve hot, topped with some yogurt, a sprinkling of parsley or mint, and currants, if desired.