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Vegetable & Chickpea Soup with a Delicious Twist- Try sautéed Turkish spicy sausage, Sucuk on top! & Istanbul Calling in February!

Vegetables and chickpea soup with sauteed spicy Turkish cured beef sausage slices on top; a delicious twist.

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.

Yoghurt soup with bulgur balls, Gaziantep's yuvalama, served at Kiva restaurant, Istanbul.

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.

Vegetables soup; sebze corbasi; chickpeas add a wonderful texture and taste, and also make the soup more substantial.

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! 🙂

Sliced Turkish cured beef sausage, sucuk ; wonderful when sauteed in olive oil.

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.

Serves 4

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.

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas – Nohutlu Sebze Corbasi

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.

Sauteed spicy Turkish sausage, Sucuk; adds a lot of flavor to the soup.

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.

Vegetable and chickpeas soup with sauteed Turkish cured sausage, sucuk.

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.

Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye; delicious Turkish bean stew with spicy Turkish sausage.

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!

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Istanbul Calling! Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on February 18th 2013 

I will be teaching at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on 18th February, 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.

Look forward to many more cay, Turkish tea by the Bosphorus, Istanbul!

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! : )

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Turkish Bean Stew with Chicken; Tavuklu Kuru Fasulye and more

Pulse, beans and legumes  are very popular at home as wholesome meals and  mezzes – such as this  Warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive  oil made from chickpeas, tahini, cumin and extra virgin olive oil. Have you ever had hummus served warm? That’s the way we enjoy hummus especially in southern Turkey, warming the hummus brings out the wonderful flavors of tahini, cumin and olive oil, and it is just delicious.

This bean salad with tomatoes, olives, red onion slices and olives is wonderful for lunch or a side dish for grilled meat.

How about this delicious and substantial Turkish bean salad with eggs, olives, onions, and tomatoes; Fasulye Piyazi, for lunch ? We like to serve this salad along with grilled meatballs at home, such a delicious, healthy treat.

Kuru Fasulye; one of the most traditional Turkish dishes, wholesome and so delicious.

This week, I wanted to share our delicious traditional bean stew, Kuru Fasulye.  This bean stew  is very popular at Turkish homes as well as in our traditional restaurants, lokantas. Traditional lokantas in Turkey are also called Esnaf Lokantasi; as the workers used to come to these restaurants for their lunch break- is a wonderful concept.

Fehmi Lokantasi in Kadikoy; delicious, precooked meals all lined up – so many choices!

Have ever been to the vibrant and ever so colorful Kadikoy district in Istanbul? The market is wonderful with the fresh produce and friendly lokantas around.  This is Fehmi Lokantasi in Kadikoy, with mouthwatering displays of ready to eat stews, rice, vegetables cooked in olive oil and many more.

Delicious displays of casseroles, fresh beans cooked in olive oil and many more at Fehmi Lokantasi.

Trays of precooked – and gently heated – stews, rice, vegetables cooked in olive oil, stuffed vegetables and many more – are displayed in a buffet style in traditional lokantas. This is slowly cooked “fast food”; all you need to do is to pick up your tray and point to the Chef, Asci, which dishes you would like to try – they are ever so inviting, I usually end up having small portions of a few to share!-.

Good news is, you can recreate many of these stews and casseroles at home too. I  love this bean stew with chicken and vegetables, as it is so easy, delicious and nutritious. If you are using dried beans, you need to soak them overnight. But if you don’t have time for this, please have a go and use the precooked haricot beans instead. They still work great and you will be preparing a wholesome, delicious meal in no time.

Turkish Bean stew with spicy sausages, sucuklu kuru fasulye

This bean stew is also wonderful when cooked with Turkish spicy sausage, sucuk. You can use any spicy sausage you like or for a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat.

Turkish Bean Stew with Chicken, Onion, Peppers in Tomato Sauce – Tavuklu Kuru Fasulye

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes                           Cooking time: 35 minutes (add 30 minutes cooking time if dried beans are used)

2 cups / 340 gr Cannellini dried white beans or

14oz/1 can of pre-cooked cannellini (or haricot) beans, rinsed

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 green (pointy) or bell pepper, finely chopped

Handful of parsley, coarsely chopped

15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil

8oz / 225 gr chicken breast (or your choice of meat), cut in small chunks

14oz/ 400 gr can of chopped tomatoes

300ml/ 1 ¼ cups water

1/2 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Precooked dried beans are perfectly fine to use in the stew; and you will still be making a wholesome meal.

If you are using dried beans, soak them in plenty of water overnight. Next day, drain the water and boil the dried beans in fresh water for about 30 minutes, partially covered, until they are tender but not mushy. Drain the water and set the cooked beans aside.

If you are using precooked white beans, simply drain the juice and rinse the beans under cold water. Set them aside.

In a heavy pan, sauté the onion with the olive oil until soft. Add the meat and sauté for another minute or so. Stir in the green peppers, chopped tomatoes and the red pepper paste (if using) and mix well. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Then stir in the cooked beans and the water, mixing gently so that the beans won’t break. Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook in medium heat for. about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and combine well.

Delicious Kuru Fasulye; wonderful with plain rice by the side.

Serve hot with plain rice by the side. You can cook this stew ahead of time, even a day in advance. It freezes very well too. Traditionally; some locals also like to have a quarter of sliced raw onion by the side. A few pickles – tursu, as we say in Turkish- as well as Cacik dip –of yoghurt, cucumbers and dried mint– complements this bean stew well.

Cacik dip of plain yoghurt, cucumbers and dried mint complements the bean stew well.

 

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book, available to order at this link

Dried pulses like chickpeas, beans and lentils are a big part of Turkish cuisine and we eat these staples almost daily; they are delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare. Beans, which were established in the early history of Anatolia, are wholesome and nutritious. They are a great source of source of protein, vitamin B1 and dietary fiber. I love beans and included many beans based salads, dips and mains at my Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, signed copies available to order at this link. It is 10 % off until June 16th 2019, as a little gift from us for Father’s Day; please enter the promo code: fathers-day at the check out, thank you.

Have you ever tried Esnaf Lokantasi – open buffet style traditional Turkish restaurants – in Turkey? What is your favorite slowly cooked “fast food” there? If you haven’t tried this yet, I hope you have a go; healthy, nutritious and so delicious treats will be waiting for you – and please enjoy the sites along the journey 🙂

Kiz Kulesi, Maiden Tower, Istanbul. Try traveling by ferries – vapur – in Istanbul to enjoy wonderful sites like this.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Pastry triangles with leeks, onions & cheese – and more delicious brunch ideas

Fresh and dried fruits are amongst the breakfast spread in Turkey

Life evolves around food in Turkey, and it all starts with breakfast. Our traditional breakfast includes fresh and dried fruit, wonderful olives, feta and cheddar cheese, eggs done in different ways, pastries and many more. We also like to have sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, as well as dried fruits and nuts with yoghurt and honey. In rural parts of Anatolia, this hearty lentil soup may well be the main event for breakfast. Although now, with the modern pace of life we mostly turn to cereal boxes during the weekdays, it is at the weekends that we indulge ourselves to a delicious brunch, Turkish style.

Olives, dried fruit, nuts, grains and honey are also a part of Turkish brunch

My sister and family have been visiting us during the Easter break, and we enjoyed one of these delicious brunch moments. Here is the part of the brunch spread we had and I wanted to share. This delicious pastry with leeks, onions and cheese (you can omit cheese if preferred) is very easy to make and the sweetness of onions and leeks really work well with a touch of heat from the red pepper flakes. I like to add some grated mozzarella cheese to the mixture; for a stronger flavor you may enjoy adding strong cheddar cheese or some grated parmesan. I used ready rolled short crust pastry; you may also use ready puff pastry.

Pastry triangles with leeks, onions and cheese

There are more ideas in this post for a delicious brunch or lunch. They all tempt us at home to gather around the table, slow down and enjoy a delicious bite together – I very much hope you enjoy yours too.

Serves 6 – 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes               Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

1 large or 2 medium leeks, finely sliced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

400gr/14oz short crust pastry *, ready rolled

125gr/4oz grated mozzarella (or a cheese of your choice)

5ml/1tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like!)

10ml/1tbsp olive oil

1 egg, beaten

10ml/1tbsp nigella seeds

* Thawing the pastry: If the ready pastry is frozen, take it out 2 hours before using to bring it to the room temperature. If the pastry is in the fridge, it needs to stay at the room temperature for 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

 

Sauted onions and leeks with red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté leeks and onions for about 8 minutes, until they soften. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside to cool.

Once cool, add the grated cheese to the mixture and combine well.

Place a spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the pastry squares

Fold over the pastry to form triangles and press the edges firmly to seal.

Place the triangle pastries in the greased baking tray. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture and sprinkle the nigella seeds over them. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they turn golden brown.

Baked leek, cheese and onion pastry triangles

This pastry is delicious as a hot snack and goes down very well with this refreshing crumbled feta cheese with tomatoes, cucumbers and spring onion salad.

Crumbled feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and spring onion salad with olive oil dressing

No Turkish brunch is complete without eggs, and how would you like yours? Here is the ever popular fried eggs with Turkish spicy sausages, sucuk (made of dried cured beef with garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes).

Ultimate Turkish breakfast; eggs with spicy Turkish sausages, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, sesame coated pastry rings, simit and Turkish tea - cay

If you rather prefer a vegetarian version, here is the Turkish style delicious and healthy eggs with spinach and onion.

I hope all these inspire you to knock up something delicious for brunch next time.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

MarkeTurk; Online Turkish Supermarket

 I have just come across another wonderful source to get Turkish ingredients in the UK. MarkeTurk, the online Turkish Supermarket, is an excellent source to get extensive Turkish ingredients including spices, legumes, red pepper paste, dairy products, pastries, fruit and vegetable and many more.

They offer a quality and reliable service; if you place your order before 4pm you get your shopping delivered to your door step the same day at the time slot you choose.

If ordering from the US, the Turkish online store Tulumba.com offers a great variety of  Turkish ingredients and food items.

 

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