This Turkish soup is made for the cooler months. The juicy lamb meatballs and spicy-sweet broth offer a comforting, more-ish quality, while silverbeet, lentils and chickpeas add nutritional peace of mind. Be sure to give your soup long enough on the stove, so those delicious, punchy flavours can fully develop.
- 220 g (1 cup) chickpeas, soaked overnight then drained
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Turkish pepper paste
- 2½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 fresh bay-leaf
- 250 g (1 ⅓ cups) brown lentils
- 2.25 litres (9 cups) chicken stock
- 1 bunch silverbeet, trimmed and stems and ribs removed and finely chopped
- lemon wedges, yoghurt, dried chilli flakes and extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- 90 g (½ cup) fine burghul (bulgur)
- 75 g (½ cup) plain flour
- 200 g lamb mince
- 3 tsp Turkish pepper paste
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time overnight
To make the kofte, rinse the burghul then drain well, squeezing with your hands to remove as much excess liquid as possible. Combine in a food processor with the flour, lamb, tomato paste and spices, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper then process until mixture is smooth and elastic. Take scant teaspoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls using your hands. Place on a baking paper lined tray and refrigerate until ready to use.
Meanwhile, cook the chickpeas in boiling salted water for 1 hour or until tender then drain, cover and reserve. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic then cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add the tomato paste, pepper paste, oregano and bay leaf then cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the brown lentils and chicken stock then bring to the boil. Reduce heat then simmer for 50 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add the chickpeas and cook for 3-4 minutes to heat through then stir in the silverbeet. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer, then carefully stir in the kofte. Cook for 5 minutes or until silverbeet has wilted and kofte are cooked through. Season the soup to taste, then serve in large bowls with lemon wedges, yoghurt, chilli flakes and extra virgin olive oil.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.