|ezo gelin: hearty and satisfying|
Gelinimiz. What a lovely term of endearment. This is what I am here to my Turkish family: our bride, our daughter-in-law. Even though years have passed since we tied the knot, this is what they call me.
Now, this soup, Ezo Gelin, must be one of the two most common soups in the entire country, the other being of course mercimek/lentil. It is served everywhere usually for lunch in those little lokantas which specialise in home-style cooking.
But I never thought twice about the name, one reason being that Ezo doesn’t sound like a Turkish name so I never thought it was. A little bit of research on the net however has uncovered quite a tragic story: poor old Ezo was a real person born in 1909 in the village of Dokuzyol in SE Turkey down near the Syrian border. Apparently she was a stunning beauty but made two miserable marriages. Her second one took her over the border into Syria where her life was plagued by a mother-in-law who was never pleased. So the story goes, Ezo tried to sweeten her by creating this soup just for her. I gather it didn’t work, the mother remained a misery and poor homesick Ezo died in Syria of TB in 1952. But on a happier note, I can highly recommend her soup. It has all the qualities: warming, tasty, and nutritious, not to mention easy to make with store cupboard ingredients and very typically Turkish. This one really hits the spot! You will find many recipes for it but I have used Angie Mitchell’s in Secrets of the Turkish Kitchen.
Now you may be thinking that there is quite a lot of focus on soups in my blog and you would probably be right! Turkish meals regularly start with a soup and at home we love them. I make one every two or three days during the winter. This last weekend we were out a lot and when my husband said as he left for work yesterday morning ‘let’s have something light for supper’, soup was the obvious answer. Anyway, I was invited to lunch which I knew would be a Turkish feast so light was perfectly fine by me!
Ingredients for Ezo Gelin Çorbası
Serves 4 – 6
½ cup red lentils/kırmızı mercimek, rinsed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cups/1 litre meat stock ( Stock cubes are fine)
2 tbsp rice/bulgur wheat / pirinç/bulgur, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tomato paste/domates salçası
4 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried mint/kuru nane
1 tsp flaked red pepper/paprika flakes/pul biber
Put the lentils, onion, stock, rice, tomato paste and butter together in a large pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes until the lentils and rice are tender and the soup has a creamy consistency. Add more water if needed and season to taste.
|what could be easier?|
Add the paprika and mint and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
|why didn’t ezo’s mother-in-law like it?|