Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Turkish Red Lentil Soup - Kirmizi Mercimek Corbasi
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It was a perfect day for soup. The sun rose somewhere this morning, but it certainly was here, and it didn't take much for the Oregon damp and chill to reach these old bones. Fortunately, I still had turkey stock in the refrigerator and knew that somewhere in the recesses of the pantry I had a cup of red lentils that would whisk me to the dusty paths of Ephesus and memories of the extraordinary people with whom I first had the soup I wanted to prepare. At several points during our visit to Turkey, we crossed paths with a small group of pilgrims who were retracing the journey of St. Paul through the Mediterranean. Ephesus held special meaning for these devout and true believers and it was here that we first met and broke bread with them. The mainstay of their diet was a soup very similar to the one I'm featuring today. Red lentil soup is extremely popular in Turkey and, with slight variations, it can be found throughout the country. Their version of the soup - Ezo Gelin - comes with a story. The soup is attributed to Ezo, a woman, who despite her great beauty, was unlucky in love. An arranged first marriage to a man who loved another, ended in divorce. Her second marriage took her to Syria where she had to deal with a difficult mother-in-law. Ezo created her soup to please the woman, and that soup, and Ezo's story, have become legend. The soup is now symbolically fed to brides to sustain them for the uncertain future that lies ahead. An authentic recipe for Ezo Gelin Corbasi can be found here. I didn't have all the ingredients I needed to make her soup, so I decided to make this version which is also wonderful and extremely easy to prepare. The soup is usually pureed, but I bypassed that step because I wanted some texture in the version I planned to serve for dinner. I know that those of you who try this soup will love it. It is warm and hearty and has wonderful color. It's easy to make and even more importantly, it's delicious. Do try this. Here's the recipe.
Turkish Red Lentil Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by MediterrAsian.com and countless Turkish women
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red lentils
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable or poultry stock
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Greek-style yogurt for serving
1) Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) Add garlic, cumin, coriander and ginger and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add tomato paste, lentils, tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
3) Transfer mixture to a blender in batches and process until smooth. If soup is too thick, thin with water or additional stock. Serve in individual bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt. Yield: 6 large servings.
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