This soup is named after our lovely daughter-in-law Ozlem, born and raised in Turkey and taught early, the delicious recipes her mother used to feed their family. We have been fortunate to dine at Ozlem's table a number of times and every meal is a pleasure.
When Les was diagnosed with cancer last August, Ozlem gave me her recipe for this Turkish vegetarian soup. We lived off this for months as Les' rectum became ever more constricted with the cancerous mass growing inside, making it nearly impossible for him to eat anything with fiber or substance. This recipe is a major cancer fighter.
Ozlem's soup nourished us both, kept Les from losing too much weight, helped me to lose some weight, and can be used as a base for other recipes: for example after pureeing this soup one can add in chunks of fresh vegetables for texture and added favor. It can be used as a base for spaghetti sauce if one adds more tomatoes and removes one potato from the recipe or used as a sauce for enciladas. change the herbs and spices and you will change the flavor. This rich, smooth broth tastes delicious spooned over a baked potato or steamed vegetables. Of course, it is simply divine eaten as it is--a humble, simple soup.
OZLEM'S SOUP (serves 4)
500 ml (2 Cups) water
1 Knorr vegetable stockpot (in the U.S. use Better than Boullion Vegetable base)
1 large onion, peeled and rough chopped
1 large potato, scrubbed but leave the skin on. Cut into 2 inch chunks.
2 medium carrots, scrubbed but leave the skin on and cut into medium chunks
1 large red bell pepper cleaned, and sliced into chunks
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and smashed
2 fresh tomatoes cut in half
- Clean and chop all the vegetables except the tomatoes, and set aside in a large bowl.
- In a soup pot bring the water to a boil and add the stockpot and stir until dissolved.
- Add in the raw, chopped veg. It will appear there is not enough liquid for them but as the vegetables cook they will release their juices and the volume of liquid will rise.
- Bring to a boil and cover the soup. Turn down and simmer for fifteen minutes.
- The tomatoes need to be blanched to remove their skins. I do this by simply laying the tomato halves, cut side up in the top of the pot of boiling vegetables. I push the tomatoes down so they are mostly submerged, put the lid back on the pan and let it all come back to a boil for about five minutes. Then I scoop the tomatoes into a bowl and let them cool off for a few minutes. The skins peel away easily. Add the tomatoes back to the pan, cover everything and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Test your vegetables to make sure they are tender and cooked all the way through. If so then set the pan aside and let everything cool down to warm.
- With an immersion blender, puree the contents of the soup pot until smooth and no chunks of vegetables remain.
- Season with Paprika and cumin to taste.
- Reheat and serve.