Sheep’s Head Soup

Kelle Paça

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in


By David Dale and Somer Sivrioglu

Published 2015

  • About

This is a dish to help you sober up at 4 am and in Istanbul is likely to be found in an offal specialist that is closed during daylight hours. These places, in the more colourful suburbs, catch the customers who stagger out of a meyhane in a confused condition after midnight and look after them until the breakfast cafés start opening around 6 am.

I first encountered kelle paça when I was seventeen at an eatery called Apik in the abattoir district Dolapdere. It’s filled with Romany musicians, prostitutes, and characters you would not want to meet in a dark alley. In my merry condition at the time, I found the scene intriguing, and was happy to go along with the Turkish conviction that the gelatine and protein in this dish helps you sober up.

Clearly, this recipe depends on you being able to source a whole sheep’s head. If you can’t, leave out the head and make the soup with lamb knuckles and brains.