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Mercimek Çorbası or Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Turkey and Syria have been very much in my heart and on my mind during the news of this awful earthquake that’s taken so many lives and homes. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to travel to Turkey almost yearly for 20 years now due to a wonderful client. I made this Turkish soup the other day and am amazed at how delicious it is for being so simple. I thought I’d share here if you’re looking for an easy tasty and super healthy soup.

Mercimek Çorbası – Turkish Red Lentil Soup
80ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon tomato pasto (concentrated purée)
125 g 1/2 cup) red lentils
1 tablespoon pul biber, Turkish isot, aleppo pepper***
500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock (homemade is best!)

Heat the olive oil in quite a large saucepan. Fry the onion over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until soft. Add the flour and tomato paste. Cook, stirring. for 5 minutes.
Now add the lentils, pul biber and 500 ml (2 cups) stock. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Blend coarsely with an immersian blender and squeeze 1-2 lemon wedges to taste.
Serve as is, sprinkled with a little extra pul biber – and drizzle with good quality olive oil.

***If you can’t get the Aleppo pepper, also known as pul biber or Turkish red pepper flakes, which has a mild, almost sweet heat and a distinctive lemoniness, you could substitute ¼ tsp chilli flakes mixed with ¼ tsp paprika.