Burke & Wills Series Middle Eastern Lentil Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon aniseed
2 large onions sliced
130g bacon
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup red lentils
4 pears sliced
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of two lemons
1/4 cup chopped parsley


Heat oil over medium high heat until slightly smoking. Turn down burner to low and add aniseed to toast. When seeds begin to turn brownish color, add onions. Stir occasionally to keep from burning but allow onions to caramelize into a nice brown color.
In a separate fry pan, saute up bacon until crispy and drain grease. In a soup pot, add to onions: bacon, chicken stock, pears, lentils, coriander, cumin and salt. Allow to cook over low for 30-45 minutes until lentils are falling apart and pear has disintegrated. If pear still is slightly whole, take a fork and break apart.

Once lentils are cooked add garbanzo bean. Add orange juice and lemon juice to add a tart citrus flavor. Add salt to taste and fresh chopped parsley right before serving. For optional taste you can add milk which will give the soup a creamier flavor. Garnish with yogurt and parsley.

(These ingredients have been slightly modified for ease of preparation in the home kitchen)

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