I wish I could say the wind is howling outside and temperatures have dropped because then you would feel in the mood for a lovely bowl of heartwarming soup!
|my favourite Uzbek bowls – aren’t they great?|
But I can’t because the weather here in Istanbul is so mild relatively. It is slightly alarming but anyway.
On the other hand, after all that rich festive food, it’s nice to get back to simpler, family-style cooking! This soup packs its punches and we really enjoyed it – I am sure you will too!
|kale soup warm and filling!|
It has its origins by the Black Sea which borders the northern coast of Turkey and its main ingredient is karalahana/black cabbage or kale, a kind of cabbage with firm, large dark green leaves that is easily available at the outdoor markets here if not elsewhere. I tend to get a bit confused with all the branches of the cabbage family! Pazı I call Swiss Chard. Cabbage is just plain old lahana. I’m not even sure whether we have kale in the UK – or do we call it something different?
|this cabbage is sold in bunches|
Anyway, this is certainly not a vegetable I grew up with but why not experiment? The soup is robust and warming as it contains beans and a little rice too so it’s almost enough in itself to have for a light lunch. I’m sure it’s ultra-healthy.
But the other day TT and I were at Hayvore in Beyoğlu, a little local esnaf place renowned for its Black Sea cuisine, and I was delighted to see this soup as one if its three on offer! (Needless to say, the other two were lentil and Ezo Gelin, the nation’s favourites I would say, let alone Black Sea!). Turks love their soups. BTW Hayvore means ‘I am here!’ in Lazca, the language of the Black Sea folk. I think that’s such a great name.
|Hayvore’s karalahana çorbası – it was much spicier than mine with lots of flaked red pepper and probably hot|
red pepper paste – but still delicious! It probably had more butter too.
For the white beans, I bought a tin of ready-cooked ones and used 1 cup for the recipe and froze the remainder in 2 freezer bags for next time. Because there will definitely be a next time although not any time soon as TT is back on the Dukan Diet….
- If using dried beans, remember to soak them in cold water the night before. Sieve and boil the next day till soft.
- Take your washed and drained kale and before proceeding with the recipe, cut out the tough central vein from each leaf.
|like this …|
- Then place a few leaves one on top of the other and slice thinly. Here’s a tip: roll them up like a cigar and then slice through with a large sharp knife – it does the trick beautifully.
- If your pieces are long, cut in half. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
|sliced and salted|
- Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the thinly sliced onion and gently cook to soften. Add the pepper paste and continue to cook over a gentle flame.
- Take the chopped and salted kale and wash well. Add to the saucepan and cook till wilted. YOU WON’T NEED ANY EXTRA LIQUID AT THIS POINT AS THERE’S ENOUGH ON THE LEAVES.
- Add the rice, the boiled white beans and the hot chicken stock. Season with the flaked red pepper, ground red pepper, ground black pepper and salt. Cook over a gentle heat for 30 minutes.
- Mix the cornflour with a little warm water in a cup. Add gently to the soup, pouring from the side of the pan, and stir till fully absorbed.
- Serve hot.
|this is just to show you Hayvore’s amazing selection of Black Sea delights!!!|
Those little fish are hamsi or anchovy, especially associated with the Black Sea. I had one of those dishes the other day and featured it on my facebook Page! So if you think you’ve seen it – well, you probably have!
I recommend highly that you go too and try some of their delicious food!