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Turkish style Chicken and Leek Soup with Yogurt, Mint and Rice

So many people have been requesting this recipe, and so many people have colds, that I have to include it. It’s my very favorite chicken soup!

Yield: 8 servings (appetizer) or 4-6 servings (entrée)

  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups additive free whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. dried mint
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or hot paprika

1) Place chicken in a pot large enough to just contain it. Add water to cover by 1/2 inch. Add one teaspoon salt. Bring just to aboil over high heat. Skim any foam from the top, turn the heat to very low, cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, covered, for 1/2 hour.

2) Meanwhile, quarter and slice the onions. Trim and discard the dark green tops and outside, leathery layer from the leeks Slice through each leek vertically and wash them well, making sure you get all the dirt out from between the leaves, .and slice them crosswise into thin half-rounds. Wash and thinly slice celery.

3) Choose a heavy bottomed soup pot, 4 - 6 quart size, and add the olive oil. Warm it over medium-low heat and add all the vegetables. Stir to combine with the oil, then cover the pan and cook, checking vegetables and stirring frequently, until they become meltingly tender. This should take about 10 minutes.

4) Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Add the cooking broth and the rice (if using an Asian rice, be sure to rinse it first) to the vegetables along with the additional 4 cups of broth, and cook for about 30 minutes, tasting for salt and adding it, along with a grind of pepper, as needed. Meanwhile shred the chicken. Add the chicken shreds back to the pot after the rice is cooked.

5) In a medium-size pot, mix together cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. Add the egg yolks and yogurt. Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring constantly in ONE direction. When the mixture is thickened, add it to the soup. The soup can now be served.

6) In a small frying pan, melt the butter. When the foam has disappeared, add the dry mint and cayenne. Fry for a few seconds, until fragrant. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of the mint butter.

Note: This soup is great reheated the next day, but don’t boil it or the egg mixture can become separated and curdled.