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Persian New Year’s Legume and Noodle Soup (Ashe Reshteh)

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Persian New Year’s Legume and Noodle Soup (Ashe Reshteh)
This adaptation of Persian legume and noodle soup is traditionally served in March for Norooz, the Persian New Year, as well as on the first day of each month. It is such a deeply nourishing soup that it seems appropriate to share it for our Western New Year. Fava beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils are cooked in broth with greens, plenty of fresh herbs and reshteh (noodles). Ashe Reshteh is a soup with as many variations as there are cooks making it, so feel free to experiment with your beans, greens and herbs. This is a quick version using BPA-free canned (Eden Organics is my top pick) and frozen beans; feel free to start from scratch and cook your own.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium onions
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup dry black, French or green lentils
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked fava beans, canned or frozen (substitute limas or other flat bean if you can’t find them)
  • 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ pound vermicelli, linguine or other fine pasta, broken into 2” lengths
  • 1 5-ounce container baby spinach leaves OR 1 bunch spinach, washed and coarsely chopped, OR 1 bunch of Lacinato (dinosaur) kale, washed and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves (1 bunch)
  • 2 cups of fresh mint leaves (1 bunch), roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Plain thick yogurt for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

Chop one of the onions in 1/2 “ dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent and golden, about 7 minutes.
Add the turmeric, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and favas and stir well. Add the broth and a large pinch of salt and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the remaining onions. Cut the onions in half lengthwise and slice thin. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are a deep caramel color. Season the onions with salt and pepper and set them to the side.
Add the pasta to the soup, stir well, and cook according to package directions.
When the pasta is nearly cooked, add the spinach, cilantro, mint, dill and parsley. Adjust the seasoning and cook until the greens are wilted, no more than two minutes.
Serve the soup with the browned onions and yogurt as garnish.
Serves 6
Copyright 2011 by Jen Hoy

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