I originally took this soup from the recipe on The Cook's House: http://thecookshouse.tripod.com/Recipes/apricot.html. That version was too sweet for me, so I jazzed it up with more heat. When I worked for a bakery/cafe, I'd make it in triple quantities and seldom have more than a couple of bowls left by the end of the day! —beyondcelery
large yellow onion, chopped
cloves garlic, minced
dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch bits
Garlic broth is made by simmering 7-8 loosely chopped bulbs garlic in 12 cups water for about 2 hours. Break up the cloves and mash out cooked garlic as it simmers. Strain out the garlic's paper and keep broth on hand for soups. This freezes very well. If you don't use garlic broth in this soup, add more vegetable broth and garlic in its place.
Pick through your brown lentils for rocks and such, then rinse them well.
Sauté onion in olive oil until beginning to lightly brown. Add minced garlic and dried apricot pieces and continue to cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute
Add brown lentils, water, and garlic broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add cumin, thyme, black pepper, and cayenne. (Depending on taste, you may want to add cayenne a little at a time until it's spicy enough for you.) Simmer about 30 - 45 minutes, until lentils are cooked.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Taste for salt and add as needed. Add more pepper at this point if desired.
Puree half the soup in a blender and return blended soup to the pot to mix with the rest. Serve with toasted bread, spread with soft goat cheese.