Lamb and Yogurt Soup

(Tutmaç Çorbasý)

SERVES 4 - 6

When adding the yogurt mixture to this soup, we were taught to stir it in only one direction, a technique used to prevent curdling.

FOR THE PASTA:
2⁄3 cup flour
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 1⁄2 cups vegetable oil

FOR THE CROUTONS:
1⁄2 cup flour
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1 egg

FOR THE MEAT AND BROTH:
1⁄2 lb. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1⁄2" pieces
Salt
1 tbsp. clarified butter
1 cup thick strained yogurt
2 tbsp. flour
1 egg
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. dried peppermint

1. For the pasta: Put flour, salt, egg, and 1 tbsp. water into a medium bowl; mix to form a dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and pliant, 8-10 minutes. Halve dough, cover with a damp towel, and let rest for 20 minutes. Roll each piece of dough into an 8" × 12" rectangle. Cut each rectangle into small 1⁄2" pasta squares and let dry, uncovered, until no longer sticky, about 45 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry pasta squares, turning often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer pasta to a paper towel-lined plate; let cool. Reserve skillet with remaining oil.

3. For the croutons: Put flour, salt, and egg into a medium bowl; mix to form a dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, divide into 4 pieces, and shape into 4 long 1⁄4"-wide ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into 1⁄4" pieces. (Sprinkle with a little flour to keep from sticking.) Reheat reserved oil in skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry dough pieces, turning often, until golden brown, about 1 1⁄2 minutes. Transfer croutons to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool.

4. For the meat and broth: Put 2 1⁄2 cups water into a medium pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add lamb, return to a boil, and skim off and discard any foam on surface. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from heat and stir in 1⁄2 tsp. salt; set aside.

5. Put 3 1⁄3 cups water, clarified butter, and 1 tsp. salt into a medium pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add fried pasta, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and discard liquid.

6. Whisk together yogurt, flour, egg, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl. Mash garlic and 1⁄2 tsp. salt to a paste in a mortar with a pestle; add to yogurt mixture. Bring meat and broth back to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly pour yogurt mixture into broth while stirring gently in one direction, then add drained pasta. Bring soup to a boil and cook for 15-20 seconds. Remove from heat; let bubbles subside. Repeat process until soup is slightly thicker than maple syrup, 3-4 times more. Season with salt to taste; transfer to a large serving bowl. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add mint, swirl to combine, then pour over soup. Garnish with some croutons; serve any that remain on the side.