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Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Urfa-Biber Mint Sizzle

I know, I know, I am posting too many recipes which call for urfa-biber lately. I am almost at the point where I will have to offer to mail a package of urfa-biber to anyone who wants it and has something interesting to swap for it.

This recipe was adapted from Paula Wolfert’s The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook – and by adapted, I mean that Dave likes to throw urfa-biber and curry leaves into anything he can get his hands on, and that I am a carnivore and abhor the thought of dinner without meat.

I like to make my croutons in a pan on the stove, because they inevitably burn when I try making them in the oven instead. I just pour a bit of olive oil into a pan and stir-fry cubes of stale bread until they are nice and toasty, sprinkling a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper on them along the way. This works well, and I must say, the croutons (and the sizzle) make this soup for me.

In the end, we created a crispety, crunchety, spicy, meaty soup, which is satisfying enough to be a meal in itself.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Urfa-Biber Mint Sizzle
(adapted from Paula Wolfert’s The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook)
1 C red lentils
5 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
A few curry leaves
2 tbsp rice
6 C water
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tbsp flour
2 C chicken stock
Stale bread for croutons
2 tsp urfa-biber
1 tsp spearmint

Rinse the lentils.

In 1 tbsp butter, saute the garlic and curry leaves. Add the lentils and rice. Stir to coat, then add 6 C water and the tomato paste and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

Lightly brown the onion in a scant tbsp butter. Remove them from the pan and set aside, then sear the chicken until lovely and brown on all sides.

Make a roux of 2 tbsp flour with 2 tbsp butter. Slowly (this is important) add 2 C chicken stock. Add roux/stock to the rest of the soup and whisk until smooth.

Stir in the onions and chicken.

Cut the stale bread into cubes and fry in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper in a pan, stirring occasionally, until they become croutons. You want at least 2 C croutons, really.

Make the sizzle by melting 1 tbsp butter, then stirring in the urfa-biber and spearmint. (You can substitute any other ground chili if need be; it will change the flavor of the soup, but probably in an interesting and pleasant way.)

Swirl in a bit of the sizzle and thrown in some croutons when serving.

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11 Responses to “Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Urfa-Biber Mint Sizzle”

  1. Brilynn says:

    When you start sending out urfa biber, I want to be first on that list!

  2. deinin says:

    This looks (and sounds) so delicious!

    When you start sending out urfa biber, I want to be first on that list!

    Me too!

  3. Kalyn says:

    This sounds so interesting. I realize you can’t send urfa biber to all of us, but I wonder if you can buy it online?

  4. sam says:

    Are you are going to regret suggesting that list? I don”t have too much trouble envisaging my name being on it.

  5. Alanna says:

    And don’t forget the middle of the country!

  6. Mercedes says:

    I love Turkish lentil soup, the chicken is certainly an unorthodox addition, but I think croutons make anything better!

  7. oh please can I have a big bowl of this soup????

  8. Danielle says:

    Okay, here’s the deal – I’ll buy a big bag of urfa-biber and send some out to anyone who sends me something interesting as a swap. Sound fun?

    Or you can actually just order it online at Kalustyan’s.

  9. Jessica says:

    Well, I have never even heard of this stuff. Want to swap some with me? I’ll send you something fabulous from Switzerland. L’ail des Ours confiture perhaps?

  10. Martin says:

    Someone stole your pictures along with the recipe to post on their own blog :( I just came across this post while Googling on urba-biber:

  11. Mar says:

    World Spice Merchants in Seattle carries urfa biber. I just got some and am looking for new and interesting recipes.

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April 2007
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