We spent several hours preparing the five-course meal, then sat down at a nicely set table and enjoyed the fruits of our labor complemented by a nice selection of wines.
Spicy red lentil and bulgur soup with dried mint and red pepper (serves 6)
1 1/4 cups red lentils, washed, plus more water for boiling
1tbsp butter and 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp dried mint
1 tsp Aleppo pepper (a Turkish flaked red pepper which is a bit oily and has a slightly damp texture)
1/2 - 1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 - 1 tbsp bellpepper paste (if you can't find the paste add an additional 1/2 -1 tbsp of tomato paste)
4-5 cups fresh chicken stock or water (Add only 4 cups of stock if you like a thicker soup. You can always add more stock if desired).
1/4 cup coarse bulgur
- Cook lentils in a medium-sized pot with water for about 15 - 20 minutes until they fall apart (ensure that lentils are covered by at least 3/4 inch of water). Skim off any foam from the surface as lentils are cooking. When ready, drain lentils and set aside.
- Melt butter with the oil in another pot which should be large enough to hold the soup. Add 1 tsp all-purpose flour stirring constantly to make a light roux. Add dried mint, Aleppo pepper and the tomato and bellpepper pastes. Stir mixture constantly so that it will not burn.
- Add cooked lentils and chicken stock or water.
- Bring soup to a boil. When boiling, add bulgur and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 10 - 15 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Alaturka