I created this pictorial recipe for a nephew who was moving into an apartment. He claims to have made it a couple of times, but I think that he might really just be living on frozen pizza and Chinese takeout. This is a handy recipe because most of the ingredients have a long shelf-life and the measurements are not critical.
It is easiest to just work from the photo after you have made this once or twice:
1. Cube a large chicken breast into 3/4 inch pieces (I thaw out frozen ones from Costco). Chop one large onion. Chop one or two large carrots. Mince three to six cloves of garlic (or substitute granulated garlic).
2. Add several Tablespoons of olive oil to a stainless steel soup pot. Brown the chicken a bit, then add the carrots, onion, and garlic. Stir occasionally over medium heat until the onion is golden brown (about 7 minutes).
3. To the pot, Add two (or more) teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, two (or more) teaspoons cayenne pepper. Stir. Then add 1+ tablespoon tomato paste.
4. Then add 2 cups red lentils (or a mix of red and yellow), two 15 ounce cans of chicken broth, and one can of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
5. Cook the lentils for about 30 minutes. Optional: Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
6. If desired, add some lemon juice and Cilantro. Serve hot.
This recipe is easy and very forgiving (in terms of amounts, time, etc.), so it is good for new cooks. It is good reheated. You can add other spices as desired. Some people might like adding Tabasco Sauce at the table.
Note: Indian grocery stores are a good place to buy lentils and other legumes.
Recipe makes approximately 2 quarts or 6 servings.