Ras asfour (lentil soup)

Yield: 8 servings

Measure Ingredient
1½ cup Yellow or orange lentils (go through them and pick out stones)
½ pounds Choice ground beef
⅓ cup Chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Pepper
2 teaspoons Olive oil
1 Onion, sliced
½ cup Shaarla, or vermicelli broken into pieces
⅓ cup Lemon juice

Suhour ("the meal before sunrise") is usually good, stick-to-your-ribs food.

Rinse lentils and drain, picking out any discolored ones. Combine with 5-6 cups water in a large kettle and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off foam as it forms on top.

While the lentils are cooking, combine ground meat with parsley, salt and pepper. Using about a tablespoon of the meal mixture for each, form into small meatballs and chill until needed.

Heat the olive oil and saute the onion until soft and golden.

Reserve. When lentils are soft, mash them with the back of a spoon to thicken the soup. Add shaarla (or vermicelli) and meatballs. Cook 10-15 minutes longer, until meatballs are cooked through. To serve, divide onion slices among 6 bowls. Stir lemon juice into soup and ladle over onions.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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