Perfect for a chilly day, this delicious, nutritious, and hearty Persian soup will nourish you from the inside out. And it only gets better with leftovers when the flavors get all good and married!
To celebrate the winter solstice (AKA Shabeh Yalda) I’m posting the recipe for my quintessential Persian dish for this time of year.
I can’t tell you how much I love this soup and frankly I don’t really have the energy it’d take to accomplish that right now either. For one, I won’t be able to express myself and the way I feel about this soup enough to do it justice—it’s just really that special to my food heart. Oh, and damn delicious like you can’t even imagine.
And two, I’m running on 6 hours of sleep fewer than I actually needed last night so that I could be all packed and ready before heading over to my early lab meeting and then commuting to the airport so that I could wait for hours at my gate for the delayed airplane. I need some sleep. So. Badly.
But this here post is all about aash reshteh and all its delicious gorgeousness, and not about the most common airport woes experienced.
Aash reshteh literally translates to Noodle Soup. But …OK. Let’s stop right here because this is the biggest failure in naming a food, ever. There’s a ton of bountiful goodness going on in this soup and at the very least sure, there are noodles in the dish. But who cares, because the good stuff in my opinion are all the fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic, variety of beans, and savory little beef meatballs—hence the really, really long title I gave it up above (and so I succeeded in achieving the opposite kind of food naming failure with that!).
So for other Persians that come across this recipe, yeah, this might not be your mama’s aash reshteh. It definitely is my mama’s aash reshteh and that’s because my family is from the Azerbaijan region of Iran. So the big difference is that we add little meatballs as well as some tomatoes and tomato paste. Typical Persian aash reshteh has more of a green color and Azeri aash reshteh has more of a red color, thanks to the tomato.
We enjoy topping the soup with a little mixture of fried onion, garlic, and mint and then the soup turns into something truly divine.
This soup is incredibly full of anything and everything you’d want or need in a meal and I actually cannot think of a healthier (whatever your definition may be of that) dish right now. Maybe that’s because my brain is currently broken (still waiting on that flight to arrive so I can catch some zzzzz’s—and probably won’t since I’m lame on a plane like that), but honestly, I have more than a hunch that it’s just the truth, regardless.
You guys are in for such a treat with this one. Noush-e jaan (nourishment for your soul)!!
- 1 carton (48 oz.) chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup dried lentils that soaked in water for at least 10 minutes
- 1 lb beef
- ½ a large white/yellow onion, puréed in food processor or using a box grater + 2 chopped onions for frying
- 1 tbsp salt + more to taste for soup
- 1 ½ tsp pepper + more to taste for soup
- 1 ½ tsp turmeric powder + more to taste for soup
- 1 cilantro bunch (washed and chopped in food processor)
- 1 bunch parsley (washed and chopped in food processor)
- 1 bunch scallions (washed and chopped in food processor, the green parts mostly)
- 6 oz. can of tomato paste
- ⅓ of a package of fettuccine pasta noodles (about 5 oz.)
- 1 ½ head of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp dried mint
- 8 oz. (about ½ can) of chickpeas
- 15 oz. (1 can) of red kidney beans
- 20 oz. cherry/grape tomatoes (1 small package or a little more than 1 package)
- Boil approximately half a large pot of water along with the chicken or vegetable broth.
- In a bowl, combine ground beef with puréed onion, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Ball into ½-inch sized meatballs and set aside.
- Add lentils to pot of boiling broth/water and close lid to cook.
- Add meatballs straight into the soup.
- Add cilantro, parsley, and scallions.
- Once meatballs have cooked through, add salt, pepper, and turmeric powder to soup itself to adjust for flavoring. Turn to medium heat with lid mostly covering pot.
- On med-med-high heat, heat enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of a pan. Add 2 chopped onions and fry until browned (about 10 minutes). Once fried, tilt pan to drain the excess oil to one side of the pan with the onions on the other/higher side.
- Mix in tomato paste.
- Add ¾ of the fried onions and save the other ¼.
- Break the fettuccine into approximately 3 inch-long pieces.
- Add ¾ of the garlic and save the other ¼.
- Add 1 ½ tbsp dried mint.
- Add chickpeas, kidney beans, and tomatoes.
- In a small pan on med-low heat add the leftover olive oil from frying onions (or about 1 tbsp of oil). Then add leftover onions, garlic, a pinch of turmeric, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry just for a minute or two, mixing. Add ½ tbsp of mint and immediately remove pan from heat. Garlic and mint will burn if left on heat too long.
- Soup is ready once noodles have cooked through. Serve each bowl with a tablespoon or so of the onion/garlic/mint mixture right on top. Enjoy!
In celebration of the winter solstice today (AKA Shabeh Yalda), check out more awesome winter dishes from some of my fellow Persian bloggers!