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We have had bone-chilling weather these past 3 days. Arctic-like weather. It was -25 degrees Celsius today, -38 C with the wind chill factor! In case you’re wondering, that’s -36 Fahrenheit. Yes, really! We needed more than just a soul-warming soup for dinner. We needed a soup that would warm us to our very core. One with fiery spices which would make its way right down to our bones and set them ablaze with heat. Not necessarily hot spices, but spices with warmth. Spices like cumin, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric, a spice in the ginger family which is widely used in curries. How about a lentil soup with Moroccan heat?

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Ingredients for a big batch of soup, about 12 servings

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, minced or grated

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 tsp salt

1 tsp each of pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, turmeric

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 to 2 tsp harissa, depending on your taste, optional

2 cups vegetable broth, or water

6 cups water

2 cups red lentils

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 can (28 oz/798 ml) whole, peeled tomatoes

Chopped parsley or cilantro for serving, optional

Sour cream for serving, optional

Heat olive oil, enough to cover bottom of soup pot, on medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add celery and cook another 5 minutes.

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Add all of the spices, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in harissa and cook for 1 minute.

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Add the liquids, lentils, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, mashing the tomatoes after 20 minutes.

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And that’s it, as simple as that. You can, if you like, top your soup with chopped parsley or cilantro, or sour cream. Or both. I did. Serve with crusty baguette and salted butter. It’s numbing cold out there, we need foods that will stick to our ribs. Enjoy and keep warm!

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