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Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Kirmizi mercîmek çorbasi)

  • Author: Michelle Burns
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This dish will continue to thicken as it cools. If you save it for a second meal, you will have to thin the soup before heating.


  • 3 Tbs salted butter (substitute olive oil for vegan)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbs sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 Tbs long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (add 1/2 tsp more if using olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 5 cups water or broth (we use vegetable broth)
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper (we substitute Calabrian pepper)
  • fresh mint, chopped (GARNISH)
  • Lemon wedges (GARNISH)


  • In a large saucepan or medium soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until gfragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, and cumin until well combined and cook about 1-2 minutes
  • Add the lentils, rice, water, salt, and white pepper.
  • Stir to combine then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium, swirlhg to coat the pan.
  • Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appea and the oil is brigh red.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • To serve: ladle stoup into bowls and drizzle the pepper oil over each serving.
  • Top with mint and lemon wedges on the side.


Source: Milk Street 15 Best Tuesday Night Recipes

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
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