Sunday, July 28, 2013

Red lentil and bulgur soup

Continuing on my desire to eat Turkish food, I made a red lentil soup with bulgur, which is a very popular soup in Turkey. In some versions, rice is added to it along with fresh tomatoes and the entire mixture is pureed. I prefer my soups to have texture and I did not puree mine. The addition of dried mint makes this soup different from a regular red lentil soup and gives it that wonderful lemony flavor, which is enhanced by a squeeze of lemon before serving.
If you have fresh mint, you could dress the soup with some finely sliced mint leaves to enhance the flavor of the dried mint.

Red lentil and bulgur soup

1/2 cup red lentils, washed and rinsed
1/4 cup fine bulgur
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried spearmint
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock OR (vegetable stock cubes or chicken stock cubes + 4 cups water)
salt to taste (adjust depending on the salt content of the stock)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to serve
  1. Heat a 3 qt sauce stainless steel saucepan over medium heat and had the butter to it. Once the butter melts (make sure it does not turn brown), add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the minced onion and a pinch of salt which will prevent the onions from browning. Cook the onions for a few minutes till they are translucent. 
  2. Now add the tomato paste and the dried chili flakes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium low heat. Add the washed lentils and the bulgur and stir the mixture till all the grains of the bulgur and the lentil is well coated. 
  3. Add the dried mint and the stock or stock cubes crumbled and 4 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes till the lentils are cooked. Taste and adjust the salt.
  4. Served with freshly squeezed lemon juice and pita bread for dipping.
Serves 3 as a first course or 2 for lunch with a salad.

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