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Bulgur and Lentil Soup-Turkey

It’s been ages since I really prepared a home cooked meal. Between packing, moving, unpacking, getting sick, and traveling last weekend (all of this in a month’s time) I’ve had neither the time nor energy to really make use of my stunning new kitchen not to mention I have eaten out/ordered out more in the last four weeks than I would ever care to admit. So for dinner this past Saturday I went to a database for some recipe inspiration and came across a newspaper article that discussed the growing popularity of Turkish cuisine outside of Turkey. I abstained from the dessert dish even though I am a sucker for rice pudding (the recipe called for the addition of rose water), but I did make the other two recipes-bulgur and lentil soup and spicy shish kebab. As I am not the owner of skewers nor did my local supermarket have lamb other than in the overly expensive side, I had to improvise on a variety of levels and for that I will not be blogging about the kebabs (although they tasted really good). The soup however was terrific. Black bean soup used to be one of my favorites but I think I may have found a new one even though both the bulgur and lentil soup and black bean soup share many similar taste qualities namely their rather thick consistencies.

In case you’re not familiar with bulgur and are rather turned off by its unflattering sounding name, it has numerous health benefits as it’s a grain that is high in fiber and protein and low in fat and calories. The word bulgur is actually of Turkish origin although it’s used in cooking throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill, I purchased a bag of it and have enough to last me for the next 20 years since the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup.

Although it’s been a bit mild as of late here in Pittsburgh (I’m not complaining though!) this soup would be terrific to have on a cold winter night. And I took the recipe’s suggestion of serving it with some good ‘ol crusty bread to soak it up.

Bulgur & Lentil Soup with Peppers & Mint
Recipe from Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar


3/4 cup chopped onions
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp tomato puree
7 cups chicken or meat stock
1/2 cup bulgur
1/2 red lentils
2 tbsp flour
Salt
1/4 cup dried mint, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Saute onions in 2 tbsp butter until limp. Stir in tomato puree until it blends with the onions. Add stock, bulgur, and lentils. Cover and simmer until bulgur and lentils are thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat, cool slightly, put through a sieve and set aside. 

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring about 2 minutes, until flour turns golden. Gradually whisk in the soup. Keep at a gentle simmer and salt to taste. Stir in mint, thyme, and pepper flakes; continue to simmer for 1 or 2 minutes; serve hot. 

Serves 4-6

Wine match: Southern Rhone red

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