This soup is actually called Cowboy Soup in our household and the initial recipe belongs to my fiancés mom. When he was little, he used to be obsessed with cowboys and everything related to the wild west. He was also a very hyperactive child so his mom and his grandma had a very hard time feeding him. They finally made this soup and called it Cowboy soup, resulting in him loving and eating this soup ever since.
So this is my take on his childhood favourite.
In Turkey, the classic puréed lentil soup is probably the most famous and most preferred form of lentil dish. Being affordable, nutritious and filling, it is an all time favourite. It's eaten as a drunk food, a hangover food or even for breakfast in certain occasions.
This soup on the other hand is very chunky compared to the classic recipe and comes from the farther eastern region of Turkey, more specifically the cities like Erzurum and Kars. I have seen soups that are very similar to this one in various regions of Turkey and also in Lebanese cuisine but mostly I've seen it made with tiny little meatballs. You can always make it with the meatballs and let me know how it turned out but i prefer to keep it vegetarian.
Extremely comforting and perfect for winter months, we actually prefer eating this soup as a main dish rather than an appetizer. It is very nutritious and filling so i can guarantee you won't be leaving the table hungry if you choose to eat it as a main.
When it comes to serving, pretty much all soups in Turkey are traditionally served with a slice of lemon and bread. As Samin Nosrat pointed out in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, middle eastern cuisines like Lebanese, Turkish and Persian cuisines have a lot in common when it comes to the use a lot of acidic elements like pomegranate molasses, all kinds of pickles, pickle juice, yogurt, yogurt drinks and citrus fruits which clearly results in a lot of tang in our food.
So i stayed true to that and served it with lemons but also added a dollop of whisked plain yogurt so you have the tanginess of the yogurt and the lemon to cut through the spiciness and the richness that comes from the starch but if you're suspicious about it, feel free to leave it out.
I usually don't serve chunky soups with bread for two reasons. Firstly, i find chunky soups already filling enough and secondly, i absolutely love dipping bread into a more liquid soup and let it soak up all the goodness, but in this case, there isn't much liquid to soak in the first place.
So if you wish to serve it with bread, i recommend a flatbread like pita, lavash, naan or chapati that you can brush with some butter or olive oil and warm it up in the oven or in a pan, right before serving.
The soup can be made vegan with three very simple tweaks:
1. Ditch the butter and replace it with a tablespoon of olive oil
2. Replace the egg noodles with regular noodles.
3. Replace the yogurt with plant based yogurt like soy or oat.
PREP TIME: 30 min
COOK TIME: 45 min
RESTING TIME: 10 min
TOTAL TIME: 1 h 25 min
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
25 grams butter
2 small/medium sized potatoes cubed
1,5 liters water or vegetable stock or chicken stock
280 gr washed, drained, green lentils
80 grams of homemade or store bought egg noodles
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1,5 tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground rosemary
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill
Juice of half a lemon, keep other half to serve
Salt to taste
( If you are using water as your liquid, you can add about 1-1,5 teaspoon of salt. If you're using chicken or vegetable stock, make sure you salt to taste afterwards because they can have a high sodium content.)
1. Wash and drain your lentils, set aside.
2. Peel and cube potatoes and put them in a bowl full of water.
3. Chop onions and mince the garlic and set them aside.
4. In a big pot, heat olive oil and butter in low-medium heat and add the onions.
5. Let your onions become translucent for about 4-5 minutes and add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
6. Add the tomato paste and cook, regularly stirring, until the tomato paste is slightly sticking to the bottom of the pot.
7. Drain and stir in the potatoes. Cook them for about 2-3 minutes until they are fully coated with tomato paste.
8. Add lentils, your liquid of choice ( stock or water) and all your spices, including the bay leaf.
9. Cover the pot with a lid and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes in medium-high heat. You can give it a stir occasionally.
10. In the meantime, chop your fresh herbs and prepare your noodles.
11. Stir in the noodles and let it cook for about 10 more minutes.
12. Check for doneness of the lentils and add in the fresh herbs.
13. Take the pot off the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.