I love a good, hearty soup in winter. With some crusty bread by the side, it can be a meal on its own for me.
Soups, -“Corba” in Turkish-, form a very important part of Turkish diet; almost every dinner, especially in cooler months, start with soup in Turkish households. In rural Anatolia, it is also common for this Yayla Corbasi, yoghurt & rice soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes or Mercimek Corbasi, the hearty and delicious lentil soup to be eaten as breakfast, for a substantial meal, throughout the year. You see soup stalls in every town, village and city in Turkey.
We have all been feeling a little under the weather last week and I made this simple, but delicious soup, using the vegetables I had in the fridge. Potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, celery all work wonders when brought together with a drizzle of olive oil, a good quality can of chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon. The chickpeas also add a wonderful texture and taste, as well as making the soup more substantial. Here again spices take special credit; 1-2 teaspoonful of red pepper flakes will add a lot of flavor naturally to the soup (and the research says red pepper flakes do help you to lose weight!
But I couldn’t stop there. Once in a while, I do crave our spicy Turkish sausage, Sucuk. Shaped like a horseshoe, Sucuk is a cured sausage made with lamb or beef, and flavored with garlic and spices; I love its spicy taste with cumin notes in it (and sucuk is one of the highlights of the Turkish Breakfast!). I decided to add some sautéed sliced Turkish sausage over my vegetable soup. This delicious addition made the soup even more exciting, with all my taste buds having one great feast! I hope you can get Turkish sausage, sucuk, if not, the Spanish chorizo sausage would work well in this soup too. This version is not a traditional Turkish soup; I have experimented using sauteed Turkish sausage here and delighted to see that it worked well.
Here is the recipe for the soup – you can enjoy the vegetarian version or have a go at the one with spicy sausages, sucuk. We had both versions depending on our mood and very much we enjoyed them.
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
2 medium potatoes, cut in small chunks
2 onions, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, cut in small chunks
4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, cut in small chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
400gr/14oz can of Italian chopped tomatoes
400gr/14oz can of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1.75lt/3pints/7 ½ cups water (or chicken stock, if you prefer)
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
15ml/ 1tbsp red pepper flakes
For sautéed Sucuk, Turkish cured beef/lamb sausage:
75gr /3oz Turkish cured sausage, Sucuk, quartered and sliced
15 ml, 1 tbsp olive oil
Wedges of lemon to serve
Crusty bread to serve
Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pan and stir in the onion; sauté for a few minutes until they begin to color. Then add the rest of the vegetables, toss in and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, and combine well.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and pour in the water (or stock) and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and partially cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the chopped parsley, (drained and rinsed) cooked chickpeas and the lemon juice, combine well. Check the seasoning and add more salt, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes according to your taste, turn the heat off. Your vegetable soup with chickpeas ready; serve hot with plenty crusty bread and a wedge of lemon by the side for extra zing.
If you like to spice up your soup a little more and add a delicious twist, sauté the sliced sucuk, Turkish cured sausage, in a separate pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes. Once they start to change color and sizzle, they are ready.
Ladle the hot soup into individual serving bowls and stir in the sautéed Turkish sausages over the top. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon and crusty bread by the side.
More ideas using Sucuk? How about our traditional Bean Stew with Sausages – Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye? – Such a delicious, wholesome meal; make sure you have plenty of crusty bread near you to mop up all the juices!
Istanbul Calling! Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on February 18th 2013
I am so very excited to be going back home, Istanbul; can’t wait to take in all the sights, smells and taste in mid-February! I will be returning to the wonderful Istanbul Culinary Institute to teach a Southern Turkish style cookery class on Monday, February 18th. If you are in Istanbul and would like to join us, please take a look at the class details here.
I can’t wait to go back to my homeland and look forward sharing what I will see and taste in Istanbul with you here – stay tuned! : )