As I sat mildly hungover on a fantastic cold smoking course on Saturday (more about that to come) the topic of Turkish breakfasts came up and this soup was mentioned. I love soup for breakfast, especially when hungover as I think a bowlful of piping hot, salty liquid is just what my dehydrated body needs. This one is perfect for such occasions, the silky smooth liquid especially soothing when you're feeling tender. I knew that the following day my hangover would be more than mild so I decided straight away that I would be knocking some of this up and was already going through the kitchen inventory in my head to work out if I needed anything extra for it. I didn't.
In the Turkish restaurants of Dalston it comes with Turkish bread, olives and pickled vegetables but even without these, just with a slice of any old bread, it's a lovely start to the day, hungover or not. Don't think you can only eat it at breakfast though, it's served all day and makes a great light lunch or start to a larger meal. It's very quick and easy too, taking no more than half an hour and using a handful of ingredients
Mercimek Corbasi - Turkish Lentil Soup
Makes 3-4 bowls
1 cup of red lentils, washed and picked over (not that I've ever found a stone)
1 litre of chicken stock (use veg stock if you want a vegetarian soup)
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
A pinch of cumin seeds
Chili flakes, lemon wedges, bread, Turkish pickled veg and olives
Chop the onion reasonably small and then soften in olive oil along with the roughly chopped garlic and the cumin.
Add the red lentils and the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Blitz with a stick blender till smooth and serve.
A squeeze of lemon counters the sweetness of the soup well and a pinch of chili flakes adds warmth, which is always welcome.