Lentil, silverbeet and lamb kofte soup
As a country that shares its border with eight nations and with a former empire that spread across Asia Minor, it is little wonder that the food of Turkey evokes such exotic and romantic reactions. There are remnants of ancient Ottoman dishes, simple Anatolian peasant fare, tastes of Greece, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq and Syria and more. Some of our most ancient foodstuffs - yoghurts, cheeses and preserved meats - spring from there, while fragrances and flavours such as rosewater, saffron or pomegranate are a byword for luxury.
|220 g||Chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained|
|60 ml||Olive oil|
|2||Onions, finely chopped|
|3||Garlic cloves, crushed|
|2 tbsp||Tomato paste|
|2 tbsp||Turkish pepper paste, a thick red paste of chilli and salt, available from some delicatessens|
|2½ tsp||Dried oregano|
|1||Bay leaf, fresh|
|250 g||Brown lentils|
|2¼ Ltr||Chicken stock|
|1 bunch||Silverbeet, stems removed, leaves finely chopped|
|2||Lemons, wedges to serve|
|1 to serve||Greek yoghurt|
|1 to serve||Chilli flakes|
|1 to serve||Extra virgin olive oil|
|90 g||Bulghur wheat, fine|
|200 g||Lamb mince|
|2½ tsp||Tomato paste|
- Put the chickpeas in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour, or until tender. Drain the chickpeas, cover and reserve.
- To make the kofte, rinse the burghul and drain, using your hands to squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Combine in a food processor with the flour, lamb, tomato paste, allspice and cinnamon; season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth and elastic.
- Take scant teaspoonfuls of the mixture at a time and roll into neat balls, using your hands. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until needed.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste, pepper paste, oregano and bay leaf and stir for another minute. Add the lentils and chicken stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Add the chickpeas and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then stir in the silverbeet.
- Bring the soup back to a gentle simmer and stir in the kofte; cook over low heat for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the silverbeet has wilted and the kofte are cooked through. 6 Season with salt and pepper and serve with the lemon wedges, yoghurt, chilli flakes and optional olive oil.
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