The days are shorter and winter weather brings damp, cold temperatures that chill us to the bone. To warm up, think about serving a hearty soup, along with fresh bread and a simple salad for dinner. In her book, The Free Range Cook, Celebrity television chef Annabel Langbein shares her favorite winter soup recipes. This one is meatless, and vegan friendly, too.
In Turkey, this soup is traditionally fed to a bride the night before her wedding to sustain her through the day ahead. It delivers a deeply satisfying flavor but is quick and easy to make. Don’t skip the lemon and mint – they bring the dish alive.
Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 45 mins + infusing
Serves 6-8 as a main
- 6 tbsp butter
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ tsp smoked or plain paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups red lentils
- ¾ cup bulgur or cracked wheat
- 12 cups (3 quarts) vegetable broth or water
- 1½ tbsp dried mint
- 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- lemon wedges
- extra mint leaves
Heat the butter in a large, heavy-based pot and cook the onions over a gentle heat until very soft (about 10 minutes). Stir in tomato paste, paprika and cayenne and cook for another minute.
Mix in lentils and bulgur or cracked wheat, then add broth or water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring now and then.
Remove from heat and stir in the dried mint, fresh mint and lemon juice. Adjust seasonings, including cayenne pepper, to taste, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Turkish Bride Soup can be made ahead to this point, kept in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated when needed.
When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer. Divide between serving bowls, swirl in a little yogurt and serve with lemon wedges and mint leaves.