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Balkabagi Corbasi

(Turkish Pumpkin Soup)

This Turkish soup is famous in the village of Bursa, near ancient Mount Olympus. It's a lovely soup--fragrant, sweet and spicy with a tang, excellent as a first course for a traditional Turkish meal...or accompanying turkey sandwiches, roast pork, or other autumn comfort foods. And be prepared to be tantalyzed by an elusive salaam to classic pumpkin pie. Serve hot to four people as a first course.

Garnish: 4+ Tablespoons thick creamy yoghurt (the authentic yoghurt is special to the village of Bursa and has a distinctive taste); also sauteed leeks

Heat the oil in a saucepan on a low heat. Stir in the onions, 2/3rds of the leek, and garlic and sweat, covered, until transparent. Stir in the spices, honey, and pumpkin, cover, and let sweat together for another couple minutes. Pour in the stock, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft. Puree in a blender, solids first. Pour back into the pan and reheat. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, saute the rest of the leek slices. Ladle the soup into bowls. Swirl one heaping Tablespoon of yoghurt into each bowl, then top each with some sauteed leeks.