During World War II, Turkey was a neutral state. According to archives, about 115,000 Turkish and European Jews were saved from the Holocaust with both direct and indirect action. That does not mean Turkey was without fault during World War II. The Struma disaster occurred when Jewish refugees were not allowed to board a boat that would have led them to safety; many died.

Turkish cuisine is one of depth and flavor. When Turkish women want to treat colds in pregnancy, they turn to a classic Jewish Penicillin recipe with leeks, mint, and yogurt. This recipe is far different from western chicken soup recipes.


Chicken thighs, 1 lb
Salt, 1 TSP
Medium onion, sliced
Large leeks, 2
Celery stalks, 3
Olive oil, 2 TB
Low sodium chicken broth, 4 cups
Uncooked long grain white rice, ½ cup
Egg yolks, 2
Plain yogurt, 1 ½ cups
Cornstarch, 1 ½ TSP
Butter, 1 TB
Dried mint, 1 TB
Cayenne to taste


  1. Put chicken thighs into a stock pot.
  2. Cover with water just ½ inch above chicken.
  3. Add 1 TSP salt.
  4. Turn heat to high and bring water to boil.
  5. Skim foam from the top of the water.
  6. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer.
  7. Simmer for three minutes, remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 1 ½ hour.
  8. Slice leeks in half and wash well.
  9. Chop leeks and celery.
  10. Heat a second stockpot over medium heat.
  11. Add oil and vegetables (all).
  12. Cover and cook for up to 10 minutes or until very tender.
  13. Stir vegetables often during the cooking process.
  14. Take the chicken from the pot and allow to cool on a plate.
  15. Pour water from the stock pot into the vegetables.
  16. Add 4 cups low sodium broth.
  17. Add rice.
  18. Stir, cover and cook for ½ hour.
  19. Take the skin off chicken and remove bones.
  20. Shred chicken into large pieces with fingers.
  21. Add chicken back into the pot.
  22. In a small pot, heat ¼ cup water, cornstarch, egg yolks and yogurt over low heat.
  23. Stir constantly, but only in one direction.
  24. After the mixture thickens, stir into soup.
  25. Fry mint and cayenne in a small skillet until fragrant and garnish soup.

When reheating this soup do not allow to boil. The egg/yogurt mixture will separate from the soup causing it to curdle.

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