Tonight I made a Central Asian meal for my family. I made lentil soup, beans in a tomato sauce, and pilaf. We added a salad and rotisserie chickens in case some people didn’t like it. My mom, dad, aunt, and cousin all joined us. They liked the meal a lot, so I’m thinking you might, too. So, here’s some recipes for you. (Teresa, I heard from a little bird that you might be interested in the bean recipe! I hope this makes you happy.)

Red Lentil Soup

1 cup red lentils, rinsed & soak while you’re prepping everything

1/4 cup butter

1 medium onion

8 cups water

4 beef bullion cubes

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup rice

1/2 tsp red pepper

1/2 tsp dried mint (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

can add parsley, thyme, and oregano

lemon wedges

Saute the onions in butter. Add water, bullion, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Drain lentils. Add them andΒ  the rice. Cook until the lentils are soft. (30 minutes or so.) Add spices and cook 10 minutes. Serve as is or blend until creamy. Squeeze lemon and add more hot pepper and serve with bread.

Beans in Tomato Sauce

1 1/2 cups dried White Northern Beans, soaked overnight in salted water

2 large spoonfuls of tomato paste

1 small onion, diced

1/3 pound beef, diced (optional)

1 beef bullion cube

garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

oil or butter

Saute the beef in oil (optional). Saute the onions. Add the tomato paste. Stir and saute a minute or two. Add another splash of oil and add the drained, rinsed beans. Saute everything for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water to cover the beans. Add bullion. Cook for about 2 hours or until tender. (You can cook them faster on high heat, but they taste much better to cook on lower heat for 2 hours.) Add the spices and cook until the water has been reduced. Serve over rice.

Let me know if you try these recipes and what you think! I hope you enjoy!