Ezogelin Çorbası (turkish red lentil soup with mint)

betsy and jim went to turkey last year!  we helped betsy start a blog to chronicle the journey (obviously for selfish reasons) and now (of course) i really want to go to turkey.  betsy brought me back a neat scarf, and dylan got the evil eye pendant to ward off evil people and spirits.  by far the best present (other than their safe return) is this recipe she picked up from a turkish cooking class.  oh my!  i adore this soup.  we eat it all the time here (and over at their house down the lane).  i never bore of red lentils.  this soup is easy, so easy and quick to put together.  the mint and lemon combo, oh my!  the original recipe calls for bulger as well, i never use it, betsy always does.  that said, toss in ½ cup bulger when you add the stock if you wish.  

 Ezogelin Çorbası

2 cups red lentils, soaked for 7 hours if time permits and strained

1 Tbl  butter, olive oil or coconut oil

1 Tbl flour, spelt or kamut grants a nice nutty flavor

2 Tbl tomato puree, in a pinch i've used 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes minced

2 Tbl Biber salçası chili paste or thai kitchen roasted red chili paste

1 Tbl  dried mint (i prefer spearmint)

1-2 tsp Turkish chili flakes or hot red pepper flakes

1/2 cup bulger (optional)

5 cups good stock (homemade veggie or chicken is great) or plain water in a pinch

1 lemon cut into wedges

sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Cook the lentils 15 minutes in 2 to 3 fingers high of water, without salt, until they fall apart.  skim the skummy foam off the surface.  set aside when ready, no need to strain the lentils.  

Melt the butter with the oil in a stock pot (large enough to hold the soup), add the flour.  whisk together the flour and butter on medium heat, till golden brown, the idea here is to make a light “roux.”  mix in the mint and red pepper flakes to the roux.  keeping your eye on the heat and stirring constantly (no burning) add the tomato and bell pepper purees.  

Almost there!  now, add the lentils, stock (or cold water, and bring to the boil, still stirring.  (here is where you would add the bulger) add salt and pepper to taste, and turn off the heat.  ladle into bowls, adding a squeeze of lemon to each.  serve hot, with extra lemon wedges and red pepper on the side.