Hot yoghurt soup with chicken threads and corn
Versions of creamy hot yoghurt soup can be found all around Turkey, and it’s thought to have originated with the nomadic herdsman that settled in Anatolia a thousand years ago. At it’s simplest, it is flavoured with dried mint and may be thickened with rice, chickpeas, bulgur or barley. This recipe includes sweetcorn kernels and threads of chicken to make it more substantial.
1 large chicken breast on the bone
1 small onion, quartered
1 stick celery
1 sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1.5 litres good-quality chicken stock
100 g short-grain rice
1/2 cup sweetcorn kernels
500 ml thick natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons cornflour
60 ml water
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
40 g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dried mint
dried red pepper flakes to serve (optional)
Put the chicken and all the aromatics into a heavy-based saucepan and pour on the water. Bring to the boil, skimming away any fat and impurities that rise to the surface. As soon as it comes to the boil, lower the heat. Cover the pan and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken in the stock for 20 minutes.
Pull the chicken meat off the bone and shred it as finely as you can. Reserve for later. Strain the stock and tip into a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the rice and slowly bring to the boil. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the rice has broken down and begun to thicken the soup. Add the corn kernels
To stabilise the yoghurt, tip into a large bowl and beat until smooth. Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the yoghurt with the egg. Stir well, then ladle a spoonful of the hot soup into the yoghurt mixture and stir gently. Pour this back into the barely simmering soup. Cook at a bare simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring in one direction only. Be sure not to let the soup boil or the liaison will curdle.
When ready to serve, add the shredded chicken to the soup and season to taste. Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the mint and heat until foaming. Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and swirl on the foaming butter.