Minnesota is blessed with a fantastic Kurdish restaurant, supposedly the first Kurdish restaurant to open in the U.S. and the only one in Minnesota. It’s a shame Kurdish restaurants aren’t as prevalent as other ethnic restaurants because Kurdish food is tasty, homey, and a must-try for foodies, ethnic food lovers, and, really, anybody who likes comforting, flavorful food. The nomadic lifestyle of the Kurds reflects in the food, where you can find Indian-influenced biryani and naan as well as Middle Eastern-influenced tabouli, kofte, and dolmas. Being the creature of habit that I am, I’ve latched onto the biryani, which is different from its Indian counterpart with small diced potatoes and toasted noodles-and order it most every time because it’s so delicious. And I always start with a bowl of chicken soup made with yogurt, lemon juice, rice, and basil. The yogurt and lemon juice give the soup a tangy zip, making it lighter and more summery than its chicken noodle counterpart. The familiar and comforting chicken soup base with its unfamiliar tangy twist is addictive. Next time I’m stuck in bed with a cold and someone brings me a bowl of soup (I wish!), this is the chicken soup I want.
After we eat a rotisserie chicken meal, I shred the leftover meat and freeze the chicken carcasses, and they’ve slowly piled up during the warmer months. Now that it’s colder, soup is back on the menu, and I’ve made a ton of homemade chicken stock lately in a bid to clean out my freezer and cook healthier. I cook the stock in my pressure cooker, which intensifies the flavor in half the time. Even with homemade stock, this soup is so easy to make, and with store-bought broth, you can make the soup in under 30 minutes.
It’s too bad Kurdish chicken soup isn’t as popular as chicken noodle soup, especially given the fact that this version is gluten-free, but I maintain it’s more likely a case of unfamiliarity than taste. If you’re not blessed with a Kurdish restaurant in your neighborhood, or even if you are, then try this soup next time the temperature dips and you want something comforting and homey with a bit of an edge.