Turkish Wedding Soup
This hearty soup is traditionally served at weddings--but is a rich classic that can either set up an elegant dinner party or fill up a family of 4 for dinner.
On his way to preach at a mountain village, Nasrudin Hoca, the Turkish sage, was lost in an unexpected snowstorm. The next morning the villagers found him half frozen under an oak tree, some distance from the village inn. When he came to himself, he thanked them for saving his life. "I kept myself warm by watching the glow of the inn's light," he told them. The villagers were so pleased that they had saved Hoca's life and asked him for a show of appreciation. He agreed and said he would prepare a feast for them. The next night all the villagers showed up at the inn and sang and danced in happy expectation of the feast that was being prepared for them. Time passed and Hoca continued to rush back and forth between the dining room and the kitchen, but nothing at all appeared on the dinner table. Finally the villagers lost patience and insisted that he hurry and serve them as they were becoming very hungry. "A festive occasion like this calls for a wedding soup," he answered. "Come and see how it is being prepared." In the kitchen they found a huge cauldron hanging from the ceiling with a tiny candle underneath. "You don't expect this candle to cook the soup, do you," they shouted with annoyance. "Why not, if the glow of the inn's light warmed me. Why not? If the glow of the inn's light can keep a poor soul in the forest warmed up, surely a candle can cook a cauldron of wedding soup."
Garnish: dusting of cinnamon.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add meat, carrots, and onions and saute over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until blended. Gradually stir in stock, scraping up any bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for an hour.
When ready to serve, remove soup from heat. Beat the egg yolks, then beat the lemon juice into them--and slowly stir into the soup. Ladle into bowls--then quickly saute the paprika and cayenne in the tablespoon of butter and swirl equally into the individual soup servings. Lightly dust the top of each bowl with cinnamon.