Turkish bride soup
Photo by Annabel Langbein Media
Who would have imagined that you could transform such cheap, easy-to-find ingredients as lentils and bulghur into a spectacular soup? It delivers a deeply satisfying flavour but is easy to make so it's my go-to whenever I am tired or feel like comfort eating. In Turkey this soup is traditionally fed to a bride the night before her wedding to sustain her through the day. Don't skip the lemon and mint — they bring the dish alive.
|3||Onions, finely chopped|
|3 Tbsp||Tomato paste|
|1½ tsp||Paprika, smoked or plain|
|¼ tsp||Cayenne pepper|
|1½ cups||Red lentils|
|¾ cup||Bulghur wheat|
|12 cups||Vegetable stock, or water|
|1½ Tbsp||Dried mint|
|2 Tbsp||Chopped mint, plus extra to garnish|
|2 Tbsp||Lemon juice, plus extra lemon wedges to serve|
|1 pinch||Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste|
|1 cup||Natural yoghurt, to garnish|
- Heat the butter in a large, heavy-based pot and cook the onions over a gentle heat until very soft (about 10 minutes).
- Stir in tomato paste, paprika and cayenne and cook for another minute. Mix in lentils and bulghur or cracked wheat, then add stock or water.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring now and then. Remove from heat and stir in the dried mint, fresh mint and lemon juice. Adjust seasonings, including cayenne pepper, to taste, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. (The soup can be made ahead to this point, kept in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated when needed.)
- When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer. Divide between serving bowls, swirl in a little yoghurt and serve with lemon wedges and mint leaves.