I copied this recipe down from a magazine in a waiting room. (A meal that begins with this soup should definitely end in baklava.)
Makes 3 quarts.
3 T olive oil
2 small onions, diced
2 large garlic cloves, crushed & chopped
1 T fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 lb. beef shoulder, trimmed of fat & sinew & cut into very small cubes (optional)
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
3 tsp tomato paste
1 cup brown lentils
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
15 oz can diced tomatoes
2, 15 oz cans chick-peas, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup flour
1. Place a heavy-bottomed soup pot on medium heat; add oil, onions, garlic and ginger and saute 6-8 minutes until soft. (If using meat, add to pot and turn heat to medium high. Cook until meat changes color.)
2. Add saffron, cumin, cayenne and bay leaves and cook until fragrant. Add tomato paste and lentils and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring as mixture cooks. Add stock and diced tomatoes to pot and stir well.
3. Turn heat to high; add chickpeas, cilantro and parsley. Stir and bring to a boil. Season with salt & pepper; reduce heat and simmer 1 hour without meat or 2 hours with meat.
4. Shake water and flour together well in a jar. Pour into soup while stirring. Bring back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Check seasoning and serve with flatbread and chopped cilantro on top.