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Ultimate Winter Soup with Turkish Bulgur Gnocchi

If there is one Turkish dish you must cook this winter be it this hearty soup with bulgur gnocchi

Prep Time: 20 Min
Cook Time: 1 Hr 20 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr 40 Min

Serves: 6


For bulgur gnocchi/köfte:

    1/2 cup very fine bulgur içli köflelıik, may be replaced with semolina
    1/4 cup boiling water
    1/2 tsp tomato paste
    1/2 tsp red bell pepper paste replace with tomato paste if not available
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
    1/4 tsp freshly ground coriander
    1/3 tsp ground cumin
    1/3 tsp dry mint
    1 small egg
    1/3 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour + 1/2 tbsp more for shaping

For the soup:

    4 tbsp butter
    1 medium onion finely chopped
    3 garlic cloves unpeeled
    1/2 cup leeks green part only (replace with other vegetable of choice)
    1/2 cup chard stems finely chopped (replace with other vegetable of choice)
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    1 tsp red pepper paste
    10 cups water / stock hot
    1/2 cup green lentil PRE-cooked (simmered in plenty of water for 20 min)
    1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked for 2 hours)
    1 tsp dry mint
    1 tsp red pepper flakes
    1 tsp salt
    1 tbsp pomegranate molasses or lemon juice


1.   Prepare bulgur gnocchi (köfte) dough: In a large mixing bowl combine very fine bulgur and boiling water. Set aside for the bulgur to puff up as you handle the rest of the preparation (chopping etc). In 15-20 min add the rest of the ingredients to the bulgur and knead well until the dough comes together – it will still be a bit sticky so just dust the dough ball with a bit of flour.

 2.   Shape bulgur gnocchi (köfte): Prepare a tray and sieve in additional 1/2 tbsp flour: this is where you will be releasing your perfectly shaped bulgur gnocchi-köfte. Now divide the dough into 4 parts: take one part to a clean flat surface and with your hands roll it into a log (index finger thick). Cut into 0.5 cm (0.2 inch) wide pieces. Dust your hands with flour and one after one roll the pieces into small balls size of a hazelnut or a large chickpea. Release the ready balls into the tray with flour. When done toss the tray energetically: the gnocchi/köfte will be sliding back and forth and getting completely covered in the flour. Set aside. Congratulation – the harder part is over!

 3.   Prepare the soup: Simmer the onions in the butter until translucent (3-5 min), add garlic (I love using unpeeled cloves), leeks and chard stems and cook until the vegetables soften slightly and the moisture evaporates (5 min). Then stir in the tomato an pepper pastes and let them caramelize (about 2-3 min). Now add the hot water / warmed up stock, bring to boil and add the cooked green lentils. Let simmer covered on high heat so the lentils start falling apart (30 min). Add the bulgur köfte, cooked chickpeas and seasonings; reduce heat to medium and let simmer covered until the köfte are soft and cooked inside (30 min, or try and you will know for sure).

4.    Note: If you reduce the servings skip the egg altogether and just reduce amount of the flour used. Egg does help the bulgur gnocchi hold the shape better but then you can do without egg too especially when making vegan version of the recipe.


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