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"This hearty soup is wonderful whenever there’s a chill in the air, but it’s customary to eat it for Nowruz, the Persian New Year celebration that starts mid-March. The long noodles symbolize life, and the green herbs represent rebirth, mirroring nature as green shoots and leaves start to reappear after the long winter sleep. The soup is topped with a big spoonful of caramelized onions cooked with mint, a deliciously umami-rich condiment. The finishing touch is a dollop of kashk, a fermented whey product that’s creamy, funky, and sour. If you can’t find kashk – or if it’s too strong a taste – substitute thick yogurt."
Louisa Shafia, author of "The New Persian Kitchen"
6 to 8
Louisa Shafia, from "The New Persian Kitchen" by Louisa Shafia
3 yellow onions
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas (one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2 cups cooked kidney beans (one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
4 cups frozen lima beans (one 16-ounce bag)
1/2 cup lentils
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 heaping tablespoons dried dillweed
3 heaping tablespoons dried mint
12 cups vegetable or chicken stock
6 ounces reshteh or linguine noodles, broken into thirds
3 cups coarsely chopped kale, collards, or spinach (stems discarded)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups kashk or plain yogurt
Dice 1 of the onions. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the chick- peas, kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, garlic, turmeric, dill, and 1 tablespoon of the mint. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 1 hour to blend the flavors.
Slice the remaining 2 onions into thin half-moons. Heat a medium skillet over high heat and add the remaining 5 tablespoons oil. Add the onions and pan fry, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until golden. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons mint and sauté about 2 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the noodles and leafy greens to the soup, and stir well so that the noodles don’t clump. Stir in 2 teaspoons sea salt. When the noodles are tender, add the lemon juice and season to taste. Serve garnished with a large dollop of kashk and a spoonful of fried onions.
If you would like to add a spice blend, use a heaping spoonful of our dried lime and cardamom-scented Isphahan N1, hot and spicy Shabazi N38, or D’Vora, a mixture of parsley, onion, and cumin that’s perfect for seasoning beans. Add it in at the same time as the beans and dried seasoning, just before adding the stock.
You can find reshteh noodles, here.
For signed copies of the award-winning cookbook 'The New Persian Kitchen', go to Feast By Louisa, a curated collection of Persian culinary items like Rice Bonnets, cardamom coffee, and handmade marzipan goldfish for decorating the Nowruz table.
Photo credit: Jennifer Martiné