This is one of my favorite Turkish dishes to eat in the winter. It is a very comforting dish that creates a kind of köfte-soup combination that is perfect for cold weather. If you're ever in Istanbul, I recommend trying this dish at NATO Lokantası in Karaköy if they happen to be serving it on the day you stop in.
The acidic lemon is essential to this dish to balance the heavy flavors of the meat. In fact, the way that the egg and lemon juice is added to the soup slowly to prevent the egg proteins from coagulating is called the "terbiyeli" method in Turkish cooking.
I like to use lean ground beef (94% lean), but for a more traditional version you might try a more fatty ground beef to make the meatballs more tender.
2 lbs ground beef (94% lean) (a little less than 1 kg)
¼ cup long grain white rice, washed and rinsed (52 grams)
⅓ cup parsley leaves, chopped very finely into almost a paste (25 grams)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (2-3 grams)
1 teaspoon salt (6 grams) + 1 teaspoon (3 grams)
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (16 grams)
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into batons (1 - 1½ lb, ½ kg)
~5 medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered (1 ½ - 2 lb, 1 kg)
10 cups water (2 ⅓ liters)
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plain yogurt
- In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, rice, parsley leaves, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt until combined.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour onto a sheet pan, and then begin to make small meatballs (~1 inch diameter; you should get about 50-55 of them) and roll them in the flour to coat them (do this by rocking the pan back and forth when all meatballs are done, rather than rolling them in the flour individually).
- In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss in carrots and another 1 teaspoon salt. Saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add 10 cups water and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and meatballs, and cook (covered) for 30 minutes over very low heat, gently stirring every 5-10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, lemon juice, and yogurt. Slowly temper the liquid with the cooking liquid in your pot, and then add the mixture back into to the pot. Cook entire dish for another 1-2 minutes, and then serve hot with plenty of bread.