Istanbul somehow becomes more magical when snow begins to fall. It is really interesting that a country with a warm mediterranean climate can have beautiful snowy days like this too. And it is as if everybody stops to admire these white flakes falling from the sky.
In this cold weather you need something to warm you from the inside and there is nothing as exciting than to make a big pot of soup on cold days like these.
Kirmizi Mercimek Çorbasi won my heart the first time I tasted it and I wanted to recreate that taste at home. Red Lentil Soup is goodness in a bowl. Inexpensive ingredients with a flavour punch that makes you want to go back for more.
This Turkish soup is nearly on every menu in the city and every Turkish household has their own way of making it. This is my version. The aromas of the soup fills your house with a warm and welcoming smell.
Turkish Red Lentil Soup
2 cups Red Lentils, washed and drained
2 Carrots, chopped
1 large Onion, chopped
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
2 flat teaspoons of powdered Cumin
1 teaspoon Red Pepper
2 litres Chicken or Vegetabe stock
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Dried Mint
half a handful of Fresh Mint, chopped
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Place the Red Lentils in a colander and rinse.
Heat the Olive Oil in a large pot over medium heat. Toss in the Onions, Carrots and Garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the Cumin and Red Pepper and stir into the mixture.
Add the washed and drained Red Lentils into the pot. Pour in the Stock and stir in the Tomato Paste. Bring to a boil for about 3 minutes, then cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes until the Red Lentils turned to mush.
Remove from the heat. Add the dried and fresh Mint.
Use a hand blender to blend the soup until creamy. Season to taste and add a squeeze of Lemon.
Dish up a bowl for yourself to do some 'quality control', and then dish up for the rest of the family. The recipe makes enough soup to have leftovers to freeze and it freeze really well. This soup is healthy, hearty, easy, scrumptious and delicious. It is a comfort soup to warm friends and family.
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