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Persia: Ash Reshteh (Persian Greens, Bean and Noodle Soup)

This is a popular Iranian soup that is rich, satisfying and easily creates an entire meal.  I received this recipe from an Iranian friend.  The ingredients are easy to find and it is makes with some wonderful herbs.  The recipe is originally from the New York Times.  It takes a bit of time to prepare but the results are more like a hearty stew versus a soup.  But then again what is a soup and what is a stew?  The lines often blur.

If you prefer a thinner type consistency than add more water.  The noodles over time will also make it thicker so if you’re not eating the entire portion, add the noodles per serving rather than all at one time.

Persia: Ash Reshteh (Persian Greens, Bean and Noodle Soup)

This is a popular Iranian soup that is rich, satisfying and easily creates an entire meal.  I received this recipe from an Iranian friend.  The ingredients are easy to find and it is makes with some wonderful herbs.  The recipe is originally from the New York Times.  It takes a bit of time to prepare but the results are more like a hearty stew versus a soup.  But then again what is a soup and what is a stew?  The lines often blur.

If you prefer a thinner type consistency than add more water.  The noodles over time will also make it thicker so if you’re not eating the entire portion, add the noodles per serving rather than all at one time.

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Ingredients

Recipe serves: 8-10
beans
¼ cup dried chickpeas, of course you can use canned or jarred, just rinse them
¼ cup dried white beans, such as navy or cannellini, same as above
greens
2 pounds spinach, cleaned and leaves roughly cut in half
2 large bunches of cilantro, cleaned and hard stems removed
2 large bunches of dill, cleaned and hard stems removed
2 large punches of flat leaf parsley, cleaned and tough stems removed
1 large bunch fresh chives, cleaned
about 15 large mint leaves, cleaned
soup
about 8 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dried green or brown lentils
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 quarts chicken or beef stock (preferably homemade), or water
1½ cups liquid kashk (Persian sun-dried yogurt or whey), plus ½ cup, for serving
8 ounces reshteh (Persian soup noodles)
salt and ground pepper
to finish
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
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Persia:  Ash Reshteh (Persian Greens, Bean and Noodle Soup)
  • time
    2.5 hours plus
  • serves
    8
  • skill level
    Medium

Ingredients

  • beans

  • greens

  • about 8 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1
Done

for the beans, if using dried

The night before you plan to cook, place chickpeas and white beans in a medium bowl. Add a generous pinch of salt and 2 cups water. Refrigerate overnight.

2
Done

Greens

Roughly chop cilantro, parsley, dill, chives and mint leaves into pieces no larger than a quarter. Set aside with spinach.

3
Done

In a large (at least 10-quart) Dutch oven or pot over medium heat and add about 4 tablespoons oil.

4
Done

When the oil shimmers, add the chopped onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

5
Done

Drain the beans and add to onion along with the lentils, turmeric and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the beans with oil and spices. If you have used canned beans then do not add at this point.

6
Done

Add the chopped spinach and herbs, along with stock or water, and stir to combine.

7
Done

Partly cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer the soup for 1 hour, stirring regularly to prevent the greens from sticking and burning.

If the soup remains very thick even after the greens have wilted, add another 1 to 2 cups water, as needed to thin it.

8
Done

Place 1½ cups kashk in a medium bowl. Add a ladle or two of hot soup and whisk to dissolve, then add the mixture to the pot.

9
Done

Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, (if you are using canned beans, add to pot now). Then break the noodles in half and add to the pot. If you don't think you'll eat all the soup, you may want to divide and add noodles only to serving portion.

10
Done

Stir gently to mix in the noodles and keep them from sticking together, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are soft and chewy and the beans are completely tender, about 30 minutes.

11
Done

to garnish

Set a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, when the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil shimmers, add sliced onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until golden brown and caramelized, 10-15 minutes.

12
Done

Spread cooked onion onto a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil; let cool. Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add remaining ⅓ cup oil and warm gently over low heat, then stir in dried mint and remove from heat. Set mint oil aside and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes.

13
Done

Place remaining ½ cup kashk in a small bowl and thin out with a few tablespoons of water until it’s the texture of thin yogurt. Set aside.

14
Done

The soup should be as thick as a hearty chili. If it’s any thicker, thin it with water, ½ cup at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt as needed, accounting for the fact that both the noodles and the kashk are well salted.

15
Done

to serve

To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls. Drizzle with reserved kashk and mint oil, then top with a sprinkling of golden onions.