This is a recipe for a lentil soup I found in Clifford A. Wright’s cookbook, The Best Soups in the World.
This is a popular Turkish soup, often made during the cold Mediterranean winter months. I thought with the recent snowfall, now would be a perfect time to try this recipe. He explains how this soup is known as the bride’s soup, ezo gelin corbasi, because it is made for the soon-to-be-married young maiden.
“Originally from southeast Anatolia, the origin of this soup is attributed to an exceptionally beautiful woman named Ezo, who lived in the village of Dokuzyol near Gaziantep in the early 20th c. Legend has it that Ezo, with her rosy cheeks and black hair, was admired by travelers along the caravan route who stopped to rest in her village. Many men longed for her hand in marriage and Ezo’s family hoped to secure a worthy match for their daughter. Unfortunately, Ezo the bride (gelin), didn’t have much luck when it came to finding marital bliss. Her first husband was in love with another woman and she divorced him on grounds of maltreatment. Her second marriage took her to Syria where she became homesick for her village and had to deal with a difficult mother-in-law who couldn’t be pleased. It is for her, the story goes, that Ezo created this soup. After bearing 9 children, poor Ezo died of tuberculosis in the 1950s and has since become a Turkish legend, depicted in popular films and lamented in folksongs. Her name lives on in this popular soup, which is now traditionally fed to brides to sustain them for the uncertain future that lies ahead.” 04/2006 Dilek Barlow
I found all of the ingredients for this recipe locally. I picked up the red lentils at Dan and Becky’s Market in Cokato. If you haven’t been there, I would recommend you make the short trip. They carry a wide variety of “pantry” foods and fresh produce at their 10 acre farm. I had trouble finding dried mint locally, so I substituted fresh mint.
Lentil and Mint Soup
1 cup red lentils (rinsed)
2 quarts vegetable broth (substitute veal or chicken)
1 medium-large onion, grated
1/2 cup medium or coarse bulgur (#3 or#4), rinsed
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 T tomato paste diluted in 1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
1 t hot or sweet paprika
1 T dried mint
In our Clay Coyote Cazuela, add the lentils, broth, onion, bulgur, butter, tomato paste, and salt. Bring to a very gentle boil over high heat, about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to very low and cook until the lentils and bulgur are tender and the soup has a creamy consistency, about 1 hour. Stir in paprika and mint, cook 5 more minutes, and serve in a stoneware soup bowl. I garnished my soup with fresh mint leaves.