Ezo galin soup is a Turkish dish that comes with its own mythology. I was attracted to the recipe because of Jan’s dietary restrictions. Her oral surgery is healing, but she cannot eat solid food. Cooked bulgur, lentils, and rice seemed like just the ticket for a dish that was soft, but not blended into baby food.
Note: If I blended this soup it would be a Turkish red lentil soup, but not an ezo gelin soup. It is the rustic texture, not just the ingredients, that makes this soup distinctive.
I stayed fairly close to the recipe and adjusted the quantities to my liking. Many of the on-line recipes appear to be ready to feed an army. I wanted only four servings (three for dinner and one for Jan’s lunch) so I reduced many of the quantities.
I did not have sweet red pepper paste, so I roasted half of a red pepper, removed the skin and blended it with a bit of water. I then cooked it with the onions to make my own paste. Also, I used Jasmine rice, but it should properly be made with Turkish Baldo, an arborio rice.
After Dinner Note: Jan really liked this dish. She thought it was a quite satisfactory vegetarian meal. Eilene and I felt that it was lacking something to be a complete meal.
I am inclined to treat this soup the same way I use vichyssoise, as a bland soup base to which I add things to make it more interesting. I thought a green vegetable side dish or adding spinach to the soup would be a nice finish. Eilene wanted to add mini-meat balls. If I make this dish again soon, I will probably try these variations, but then it would not be an ezo gelin soup.
Karl’s Ezo Gelin Soup
½ sweet red pepper (or 2 Tbs. sweet red pepper paste, if you have it)
3 Tbs. butter (olive oil for Vegan)
½ onion, very finely chopped
1 tsp. Kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste
2 tsp. flour
¾ cup red lentils
¼ cup large grain rice, such as Baldo
¼ cup coarse bulgur
Pinch hot red pepper flakes, to taste
4 cups beef stock (vegetable broth for Vegan)
1 tsp. dried mint, to taste
1. Roast half a seeded sweet red pepper. Remove the skin and blend with two tablespoons of water. Reserve the puree until later.
2. In a large soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the onions with the salt until translucent.
3. Pull the onions to the sides of the pot to create a hole in the center. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about one minute.
Note: Many of the on-line recipes for this dish do not include garlic. I cannot imagine cooking without it.
4. Add the red pepper puree. Cook until all of the liquid has cooked off, about two minutes.
5. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Stir it into the vegetables and sauté for two minutes.
Tip: Do not skip cooking the flour. It removes the raw flour taste and prevents the flour from turning into doughy lumps when you add the liquid.
6. Add the lentils, rice, bulgur, hot pepper flakes and liquid to the pot and stir to mix.
7. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat and then cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes.
8. Add the mint and simmer for two minutes more.
9. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of dried mint, if you wish.