Cold winter days call for a warming meal; this delicious chicken and vegetables soup is ideal to turn the left over bits of vegetables and cooked meat (you can meat omit for a vegetarian option) into a hearty, delicious soup. With nice crusty bread aside, this chunky soup makes a complete meal for us (and just the thing if you have a cold). Soups, Corba as we call in Turkish, have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with a soup. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter.
There is a special technique used in this soup; lemon juice is beaten with egg yolks to thicken the sauce and add a delicious sort of tangy flavor. This method is called “terbiyeli” in Turkish cuisine and it requires a staged tempering of the egg sauce into the hot liquid, so that the soup won’t curdle.
I have used parsnips, celery, carrots, red onion here; you can also use potatoes, regular onion or any other vegetables you like and needs finishing. I hope you enjoy this delicious, nutritious, warming soup.
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes
225 gr/8 oz./1 cup cooked (left over) chicken meat, cut in small chunks (you can omit this for a vegetarian option)
75gr/3oz/scant ½ cup long grain rice (plain or basmati, if you prefer), rinsed
1 large red onion, quartered and chopped
3 celery stick, trimmed and coarsely chopped
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and cut in small chunks
Handful of fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
30 ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lt/ 3 ½ pints/8 cups hot chicken stock (or vegetarian stock, or water)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon & egg sauce:
2 egg yolks, beaten
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle when serving (optional)
Turkish red pepper flakes (pul biber) or chili flakes and a wedge 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. When the onion begins to color slightly, toss in the celery, carrot and parsnip. Stir and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the rinsed rice, giving a good stir. Pour in the hot stock or water and the cooked chicken pieces (if you are using), combine well. Season with salt and freshly grounded black pepper to your taste. Cover and cook over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked though still have a bite to them.
Afterwards, in a small bowl, thoroughly blend the egg yolks with the lemon juice. Gently pour in a ladle of the hot soup to the egg mixture for tempering and blend well. Then slowly pour this egg mixture into the simmering pan; stir constantly so that the eggs don’t curdle. Add the chopped parsley and cook the soup very gently on low heat for 3-5 minutes. Do not allow the soup to boil, or it may curdle. Check the seasoning and turn the heat off.
Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over and sprinkle red pepper flakes, pul biber over, if you like. Serve hot with some crusty bread and a wedge of lemon aside.
Ozlem’s Turkish Table at the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program aired on TRT Turk TV Channel
I was delighted to be involved in the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program aired on Turkish National TV, TRT Turk channel (aired over 70 countries) a few weeks ago. The program was shot in major gastronomic centers like New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Vienna, Paris and London, exploring world cuisines and the presence of Turkish cuisine around the world. I was involved in their London program; the presenter and Milliyet food author Mr. Sureyya Uzmez and I talked about the vibrant London food scene and the growing presence of Turkish cuisine abroad. I delightfully mentioned the increasing global interest for the healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine and my admiration for your enthusiasm, dear readers, to learn and tackle many aspects of Turkish cuisine, from baklava to Simit, karniyarik to Turkish Delight and more. The interview is in Turkish but I thought you may still enjoy viewing, here is the YouTube link for the program (my part starts as of 2.30 minutes onwards). Hope you enjoy it!