Serves 8 to 10
This is a favorite with the sons of Najmieh Batmanglij, author of New food of Life (Mage, 1992). I prepare the garnish while the legumes are simmering or even the day before to give the flavors time to marry.
• 1/4 cup dried red or kidney beans, washed and soaked overnight
• 1/4 cup dried white beans, washed and soaked overnight
• 1/4 cup dried chick peas, washed and soaked overnight
• 3 onions, diced
• 5 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 3 quarts water
• 1/2 cup brown lentils, washed
• 1 handful chives or garlic chives, snipped, or green part of 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• 1 cup chopped fresh dill leaves (1 bunch)
• 2 cups coarsely chopped flat-leaved parsley (2 to 3 bunches)
• 2 large bunches spinach, washed and chopped, or two 10-ounce packages chopped frozen spinach
• 1/2 pound Persian or linguine noodles, broken in half
• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or 1 1/2 cups Persian-style kashk (cooked yogurt) or sour cream
1. Rinse the beans well. In a large soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until golden. Add the salt, pepper, and turmeric, then the beans and 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, skim any foam, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add the lentils and simmer 30 minutes longer.
2. Add the chives, garlic chives, or scallions with the dill, parsley, and spinach to the soup and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Adjust the seasoning. Add the noodles and simmer for 10 minutes or until they are just done. Stir in the vinegar, kashk, or sour cream, and adjust the seasoning.
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion, finely diced
• 6 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1 cup chopped fresh mint, or 2 tablespoons dried mint
• Kashk or sour cream, optional
• 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, softened in 1 tablespoon warm water, optional
1. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan. Soften the onion and garlic, covered, over low heat, then remove the lid and sauté until golden. Off heat, stir in the turmeric and mint.
2. Serve the soup garnished with the onion mixture, a dollop of kashk or sour cream, and a sprinkle of saffron water.
Longtime Herb Companion contributor Carolyn Dille gardens, cooks, and is the author of several cookbooks. She writes in San Jose, California.
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