Turkish Rice Soup with Lamb


Lamb and short-grain rice, simmered in a garlicky broth, add body to this simple Turkish soup, which is seasoned with baby leaves and served with chiles, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil. Carnaroli is an Italian rice commonly used in risotto; even when cooked in stock, it retains its shape and has a firm bite.


  • 5 quarts plus 1 ½ cups water

  • 2 lamb shanks (about 2 ½ pounds)

  • 3 medium carrots, quartered

  • 2 medium onions, quartered

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 1 head garlic, cloves crushed

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 2 cups short-grain rice, such as Carnaroli or Arborio

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Sliced fresh chiles

  • 1 lemon, halved, for squeezing

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Bring 5 quarts water, the lamb shanks, carrots, onions, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns to a simmer in a large pot. Cook, skimming foam and fat often, for 2 1/2 hours.

  2. Transfer lamb to a plate, and let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones, and shred, discarding fat. Strain broth through a fine sieve, and skim fat; discard solids.

  3. Bring 2 cups broth, remaining 1 1/2 cups water, and the rice to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and gently simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, bring remaining broth to a simmer in a medium pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add shredded lamb, and cook until heated through.

  5. Stir a spoonful of rice into each serving of broth. Top with lamb and chiles. Squeeze lemon over soup, drizzle with oil, and season with pepper.

Cook's Notes

Broth can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance so that the fat rises to the top; remove and discard before reheating. This soup pairs well with pita bread spread with roasted garlic.

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