Zaytinya's Chilled Yogurt Soup

Time 2 hours, 5 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Chilled yogurt soup.
(Photo by Andrea D’Agosto, Food Styling by Caroline Hwang, and Prop Styling by Nia Lee / For The Times)
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Yogurt, in all its forms, is an essential element of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. Soups made of yogurt are a particular comfort food in Turkey, served hot in the winter months and cold in the summers. While those Turkish soups often add rice and maybe saffron, we love this cool garlicky version. Closer in style to the Persian cold soup called abdoog khiar, with flavors of cucumbers, raisins and rose petals, it makes a perfect canvas for the season: peas in the spring, corn in the summer and honeycrisp apples in the fall. OK, I know it’s a lot of slicing and dicing just to create the garnish, but that’s what makes it so interesting and versatile. We like to add a kick of salty feta flavor to the soup by stirring in some of the brine that blocks of feta are stored in.

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For the Soaked Barberries
For the Sumac Rose Spice Blend
For the Soup
For the Garnish

Make the soaked barberries: Be sure to pick through your dried barberries and rinse them well before using. While you can use them as is, we like to rehydrate them and add a touch of sweetness. Stir 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 tablespoons hot water in a small bowl to make a quick simple syrup. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, add 1⁄4 cup barberries and cover with 1⁄4 cup more warm water. Let sit for at least 30 minutes — overnight is even better — and drain before using.


Make the sumac rose spice blend: Grind peppercorns in a spice grinder or food processor until finely ground. Add the rose petals and pulse to crush them into very small pieces. Transfer the pepper and rose petals to a mixing bowl and add the sumac, cumin, urfa pepper and sesame seeds. Stir together until well combined and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.


Make the soup: Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and salt and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 1⁄4 cup water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely soft, about 5 more minutes.


Transfer the hot mixture to a blender and add the yogurt, lime juice and feta brine (if using), then blend until completely smooth.


Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing with the back of a spoon to release as much liquid as possible. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until completely cold.


To serve: Combine the apple, cucumber, barberries, pistachios, walnuts and raisins in a small bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Divide the apple-nut mixture among bowls or cups by making a small pile on one side of each. Pour the chilled soup alongside the mixture. Top with dill and season with sumac rose spice.

From “Zaytinya: Delicious Mediterranean Dishes From Greece, Turkey and Lebanon” by José Andrés with Michael Costa (Ecco)