Turkish Lentil Soup
We are the stories we tell!
Years ago, my husband and I were Peace Corps volunteers in the remote village of Beysehir Turkey. We were young and very idealistic and were assigned to teach English in the schools. Speaking very little Turkish, we felt overwhelmed and challenged navigating each day.
After several lonely months, one family opened their home and hearts to us. It was a passport into each other’s worlds. As we practiced our Turkish and became familiar with Turkish culture, they shared with us their lives and their dreams. We cherished ours weekends together sharing meals and friendship. Their willingness to accept us was such a generous act and a lesson that has endured with us throughout our lives.
I first learned of Turkish lentil soup one memorable fall day. A neighbor of our family hosted us to dinner. I remember sitting with the mother and daughter of the house as we talked and laughed together. They embraced me as a daughter and a sister. They taught me not only how to make this delicious soup but, so much more in life. When I close my eyes, I can see us practicing Turkish and talking about our lives as we sipped Turkish tea, chopped onions, picked fresh tomatoes from their garden and served this yummy soup with fresh baked bread for dinner. It was a wonderful afternoon that has lingered until now.
Whenever I make this soup, which has become a family legend, I think of that afternoon and smile and, share this story with all my guests and the many life lessons it has taught me.
Opening windows to other cultures is why I am so proud to be a board member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance. In these challenging times, we especially need to open our hearts and our wallets to help in the work of Alliance whose mission is to promote, connect and support a more diverse and inclusive Chicago. At this critical juncture, please stand with me in making a difference by making a donation.
TURKISH LENTIL SOUP
RECIPE: 6-10 SERVINGS
1 medium size onion (chopped finely)
1 medium tomato skinned and blanched or (2 Tablespoons of tomato paste)
1 Teaspoon (or more if desired) of finely chopped garlic
1 Teaspoon of Harissa pepper
3 (32oz) containers of chicken broth
1-2 cups water (as needed)
3 cups dried and rinsed red lentils
1 Tablespoon or more of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of rich olive oil to coat the bottom of soup pot
Salt & pepper to taste
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