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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 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.

One Year Ago Today: Stuffed Mushrooms

Two Years Ago Today: Piperada Bocadillo - Basque Pepper and Egg Sandwich


lauren@spicedplate said...

What a lovely soup -- it includes some of my favorite things! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us -- I might give it a try tonight!

Susan said...

A beautiful soup and I just have that one cup of red lentils waiting for me in the pantry. :)

Cassie/Bake Your Day said...

This sounds wonderful, Mary! I love lentil soup and I have some red lentils on hand right now. The flavors sound so warm and comforting!

The Café Sucré Farine said...

This sounds incredibly flavorful! Love all the spices in here!

Biren @ Roti n Rice said...

That looks like a very warming and hearty soup. Thanks also for sharing the story :)

Lyndsey said...

Yumm, I think I'll make this tonight, we did get a chill in the air today, it's onlly supposed to get to 70. Brrr! :)

From the Kitchen said...

The sun hasn't risen here either! I already have a crock pot of vegetable barley soup bubbling away so will save your Turkish lentil soup for a little later. It sounds delicious with all of the herbs and spices. I think I'll serve it without the puree as well. Thanks for sharing the recipe, the story and your visit.


annie said...

This soup looks delicious and love the idea of serving it with a dollop of Greek style yogurt.

Sofia.Lopez said...

Hello Mary,
I never tried red lentil soup, but i loved the color, so warm and confortable for this cold days...the receip is very good!
Have a nice day :)
Big kiss for you!

Word Nerd said...

This sounds delicious and since soup weather has officially arrived, I'll definitely be giving this a try!

Eri said...

I love red lentil soup! Too bad that their perfect colour fade while cooking..
My Grandparents are from Ephesus. It was a Greek Town from ancient time until 1922 when the whole area went Turkish.. so my Grandparents left their home and move up to Northern Greece..
I've never been there, and really want to..
Thanks for sharing!

chacha said...

Beautiful story and a wonderful looking soup! We're fighting off a cold and have everything the recipe calls for. What perfect timing - my family will love this.

Rita said...

We love soup and it is so fun to find a new recipe I know we will love. Merci.

el horno de maría said...

Ricas riccas estas lentejas un beso desde españa

el horno de maría said...

Ricas riccas estas lentejas un beso desde españa

Jennifurla said...

So warm and hearty I agree, what a lovely color.

cocinamarroqui said...

Hi Mary, good lentils. Much like the Moroccans, I like the Greek yogurt in the mix. Okay, good day

Barbara F. said...

I have been wanting to make a pot of lentil soup, I prefer the red to the brown. I have to give this a try. So healthy and delicious. I have everything but.....the red lentils! xo

Kath said...

I have recently discovered the wonders of red lentils. Your Turkish soup looks fantastic! I'm pinning it to make sometime.

Mini Baker said...

mmmm love me some lentils!

tasteofbeirut said...

Love red lentils in a soup! Need to try this as have not tried lentils and tomatoes in a soup; looks delicious!

Musings Of Taste said...

Looks really good and perfect for the weather your getting. Here we may have to wait until the cooler seasons to give it a go, but I look forward to it!

Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmet said...

Red lentil soup! Yes, Please...count me in :) Gorgeous recipe, Mary. Have a fantastic day!


Hovkonditorn said...

This sounds good, lentils and all the lovely spices, must be delicious!

Shug said...

Your post is very interesting...I enjoy hearing about old legends like this...
As a soup lover, I think this is a must try..

That Girl said...

I love lentil soup - so filling and healthy!

Ginny said...

I have never heard of red lentils. I made the regular ones once and Phil didn't like them too much, I probably messed them up with a tasteless recipe, but this looks mouth watering!

Christy said...

What a beautiful bowl of soup and the colors are just so tantalizing!:)

Joanne said...

I love the texture of red lentil soup and how the beans just melt into the broth. This looks delicious!

Christine's Pantry said...

This looks wonderful. Lovely soup.

Elisabeth said...

Absolutely lovely, and comforting soup. Love the exotic flavors, and spices in it. Turkish recipes are amazing!
Also the stuffed mushrooms...yumm!!!

Bill Dixon said...

Looks wonderful...I'll have to try the soup since the weather has gotten cold. Lentil soup is one of my favorites.

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