Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with them. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter. This spicy lentil soup is one of my favorites; rich in fiber and protein, very delicious and easy to make. It is also a great example of how we add flavor to our dishes thru spices. Named after the bride “Ezo” who managed to impress her in-laws with this heartwarming soup, this soup is so delicious and simple to make that you will want to make it all the time! It also freezes very well, so I recommend to make a big batch and freeze some for a heart and soul warming lunch or supper.
Preparation time – 15 minutes Cooking time – 40 minutes
290 gr/1 cup split red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
45 ml / 3 tablespoon coarse bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
1.75 litres / 7 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
60 ml / 4 tablespoon tomato paste
15ml/ 1 tablespoon Turkish hot red pepper paste – optional-
30-45 ml / 2-3 tablespoon olive oil or butter
15 ml / 1 tablespoon dried mint
10 ml / 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes / paprika flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges to serve
Put the lentils, bulgur wheat, onion and the chicken stock or water together in a pan. Bring to boil and then on a low heat simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender. Then stir in the butter (or olive oil), the dried mint, the red pepper flakes, Turkish hot pepper paste (optional) and the tomato paste, mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency. Add the lemon juice and more water if required, then season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot with lemon wedges.