Not many of you (or indeed any of you who are from outside NC) will remember this, but awhile ago there was a restaurant/tea house in Chapel Hill called Silk Road. It was a fantastic little Turkish place. Unfortunately, it had a terrible business model: cheap, good food + comfy couches + college town = lots of people who come in, buy one thing and stay forever, and about ten years ago it finally closed for good.
They were known for their Turkish desserts and wide tea selection, but the flavor that still transports me back to Silk Road is red lentil soup - theirs is still the best I've ever tried. Stuck at home with a cold, some red lentils and a serious craving for comfort food, I used up my red lentils in this homage (and I have to say, it's pretty close, although I reduced the onions in the recipe because the one I made had too many).
Silk Road Red Lentil Soup (serves 2 hungry people, or 4 starter cups)
1 cup red lentils
4 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 lg onion (chopped)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
bring stock to a boil. add red lentils. Cover, then cook on meduim-low about 20 minutes. In a separate pan, heat olive oil, then add onion and garlic. Cook until onions translucent. Add onions, garlic and cumin to lentils. Stir, cook until desired texture (about 5 mins for me - try not to cook the lentils too long as they lose their texture pretty easily and it becomes an exotic split pea-type soup.). Stir in lemon juice just before serving.
(Recipe adapted from here.)