Red lentil ‘peasant’ soup with sizzling mint butter

Red lentil ‘peasant’ soup with sizzling mint butter

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

Although essentially a home-style dish, versions of this hearty soup can be found in restaurants all around Turkey. The lentils break down during cooking, so the soup becomes almost creamy in the mouth. I like to add fine bulgur wheat towards the end of the cooking time, which adds a pleasing texture and makes the soup even more of a hearty winter warmer. The flavour is further enhanced by adding a drizzle of paprika and mint-infused butter just before serving.

The soup thickens as it cools, so if you plan to reheat it, you may need to thin it with a little extra stock. Serve with warm Turkish bread.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
200g red lentils
1.5 litres * chicken stock [rid:9962]
1/4 cup fine bulgur
1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into quarters and seeded
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
40g unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Heat the oil over a low heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Stir the onion, carrot and garlic around in the hot oil, then add the cumin, hot paprika and 1 teaspoon of the sweet paprika and sauté for 5–8 minutes, until the vegetables soften.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the lentils and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. When the lentils have broken down and become creamy, add the bulgur. Dice the tomato finely, then add to the pan, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into warmed serving bowls. Quickly heat the butter in a small frying pan until it foams, then add the remaining sweet paprika and the dried mint. Swirl the sizzling butter into each bowl of soup and serve with wedges of lemon.
Middle Eastern
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