I found a wonderful cookbook at my local library - Turquoise A Chef's Travels in Turkey by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I have thoroughly been enjoying the gorgeous photographs and the recipes all sound wonderful.
I thought I would start easily by making Red Lentil Soup - . It is a traditional soup that is served to brides. You can read the story of the soup at Soupsong. The weather has been freezing - we awoke to a light dusting of sleet and there has been snow flurries all day. A warm bowl of soup makes a wonderful dinner.
I had red lentils in the pantry but I needed to find fine bulgur. I found out that there are multiple grinds of bulgar - who knew! Central Market let me down - I could only find the standard grind of bulgur. It gave me the perfect reason for a trip to Goodies Mediterranean Market on Lake City in Seattle. They have an excellent selection of Middle Eastern food and brands. I was speaking with the owner and he said he recently has been bringing in more Turkish brands. It was so much fun exploring - so much to learn. And they had all the different grinds of bulgur.
I also had difficulty finding hot paprika. I suspect I needed to look for hot Hungarian paprika. I found the sweet paprika finally. The soup is very easy to make and tastes wonderful. I heated a couple of pitas and made a green salad with garbanzos, tomato and feta. A great introduction to food of Turkey.
Red Lentil Soup with mint butter - Ezo Gelin Çorbasi
Based on recipe from Turquoise
2 TBS Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp chile pepper flakes
1 TBS tomato paste
1 cup red lentils
6 cup chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
1/4 cup fine bulgar
1 tomato- seeded and finely diced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried mint
2 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
Heat oil over low heat in large saucepan. Add onion and carrot and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, pepper flakes and saute for 5-8 minutes until vegetable soften.
Stir in tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the lentils and stock and bring to a boil. cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the lentils have broken down and become creamy, add the bulgur and diced tomato. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls. Heat the butter until it foams and add the remaining sweet paprika and dried mint. Swirl into each brown and serve.
Bulgar - regular and fine