Turkish Split-Pea Soup with Mint and Paprika

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1 to 2pound split peas, rinsed and picked over
2tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
5 to 6cups chicken broth
1 to 2pound spinach trimmed, washed, and chopped
1tablespoon Hungarian paprika
whole milk (optional, for thinning)
1teaspoon coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3tablespoons chopped mint


  1. Cover the split peas with cold water in a bowl and soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the split peas, carrot, bay leaf, and broth to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, covered, until the peas are very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. If the mixture seems dry, add more broth or water as needed.
  3. Remove the bay leaf. Add the chopped spinach and 2 teaspoons of paprika and simmer until the spinach begins to wilt. Remove from the heat.
  4. When the soup has cooled slightly, puree it in a blender or food processor. If necessary, add a little milk, water, or broth to thin it. Season with the salt and pepper. Reheat, if needed, and sprinkle with the chopped mint and remaining teaspoon of paprika. Pass a bowl of yogurt at the table.

January 26, 1997: ‘Adding a Twist to Winter Soups,” by Moira Hodgson. Recipe adapted from “Kitchen Conversations,” By Joyce Goldstein.Reprinted from “The Essential New York Times Cookbook” by Amanda Hesser. Compilation copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company and Amanda Hesser. Recipes and reprinted text copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.