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! : )
Lucky you going to Istanbul! Good luck with your class – I promise I will be there for the next one.
Hi Barbara; so look forward to going back home; it would be amazing to meet up in Istanbul next time, will keep the fingers crossed! x Ozlem
this looks wonderful! and i always have sucuk in my freezer!
Thanks Jaz, me too! : ) A little bit of sucuk brightens anyday! x Ozlem
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Özlem, do you have a tip on how to rid the house of the smell of sucuk after cooking. Our open plan living area smells so whiffy after sucuk that I’m reluctant to cook it any more.
Merhaba Back to Bodrum, I know what you mean.. my mother adds a few tablespoonfuls of water to the pan with the olive oil when cooking the sucuk, and cooks on low heat; this does help quiet a bit for reducing the smell, and makes the sucuk slices more moist & succulent (rather than on the crispy side), I do like it that way too. I would also cover the pan for extra protection. I do wash the pan I cooked sucuk right away – hope these help 🙂
Merhaba again Back to Bodrum, I just did some search online on the smells of sucuk; apparently if you rub lemon to the sucuk slices (or a few drops of lemon in the pan), it helps with the smell – I haven’t tried this one yet, but it sounds promising, if you don’t mind a bit of lemony taste in sucuk 🙂 look forward to hearing if any of these works for you – hope so : ) Ozlem x
The cured beef sausage looks so yummy especially in this healthy and hearty soup! I was thrilled to read your red pepper flakes comment, I heard it too…apparently findings are inconclusive but spices increase the metabolic rate which helps in turn:) Well, do you and I need a reason to use spices!
Good luck on the class in Istanbul, it promises to be fun and I’ll be with you in spirit…xxPeri.
So true dear Peri, spices is the answer for the weight control, with the bonus of delicious taste it brings: Turkish and Indian food have plenty in that 🙂 Thanks for Istanbul, so look forward to it, xx Ozlem
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Your soup made my mouth water Ozlem. It really looks delicious.
Tesekkurler April; the soup is so easy to make and you feel good about all the wholesome ingredients go in there, glad you liked it 🙂
I’d love to come to Istanbul too! And one day I will visit it!
This soup looks so fresh and healthy. Lovely.
Ciao Alida; you won’t be dissapointed in Istanbul, hope you make it there soon:) thanks for the soup comment, it really is refreshing.