Be bowled over with this nourishing soup!
We finally had to admit today that Fall is here: there is a definite chill this evening as I sit on our porch overlooking the fields next to our house.
I realize it sounds cliche, but when the weather turns colder, I do start thinking of soups. Soups that can take the chill off. One of my favorites to warm us up is from Turkey: Ezo Gelin Ҁorbasi, or Spicy Lentil, Mint, and Bulgur Soup. And there is nothing better than a dish with a great back-story!
The Turkish name of this soup means “Soup of Ezo the Bride.” Lore says that a beautiful woman named Ezo was longed-for in marriage by the many travelers that passed through her village. Her first marriage ended in divorce, and her second marriage took her to Syria where had to deal with a difficult mother-in-law; it is for her, some say, that Ezo created this soup. After her marriages and nine children, Ezo died of tuberculosis in the 1950s and has since become a Turkish legend, depicted in films and on TV, and mourned-for in folksongs.
Even today, brides eat this soup to sustain them for the uncertain future that lies ahead. It is also served before kebab in almost every restaurant in Turkey and is also said to be an excellent hangover cure.
With its combination of mint and cayenne, Ezo Gelin Ҁorbasi is aromatic and spicy at the same time. Even though it is very easy to make, this soup packs a nutritional punch: low in fat, high in fiber and a healthy dose of protein.
This is a very easy soup to make. No fresh tomato? Use 3/4 cup of canned diced tomatoes instead. If you want to make it vegetarian/vegan, you can replace the chicken stock with veggie stock.
- ½ cup dried red lentils
- ¼ cup fine grain bulgur
- ¼ cup long grain rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, chopped, with juice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 cups chicken stock or canned broth
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped dry mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the lentils, bulgur and rice in a sieve and rinse thoroughly with cold running water. Pick out any small stones or other foreign objects.
- Pour the olive oil into a 3-quart saucepan pot over medium heat and cook the onion until it is transparent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low, add the chopped tomato and cook until the tomato is soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, bulgur and rice to the saucepan along with the stock, paprika, chili powder, mint, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils, rice and bulgur are tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.