Try this recipe for ash reshteh, or Persian bean, herb and noodle soup, for the New Year
Persians eat this starchy bean and noodle soup during the festivities leading up to Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which takes place on the spring equinox. Traditionally, it's made with soup noodles called reshteh, though it works just as well with linguine.
Read more about Persian and other New Years' traditions here.
This recipe comes courtesy of Louisa Shafia, whose Persian culinary goods — including a kit for the New Year that includes ash reshteh ingredients and a marzipan goldfish for good luck — can be found at www.feastbylouisa.com.
This is a reprint of a recipe from one of her books, The New Persian Kitchen.
Serves 6 to 8
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 chickpeas, 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 the fried onions.
From The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia (Ten Speed Press, 2013).
Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.
Reach me: email@example.com