Persian Wishing Soup
According to Najmieh Batmanglij, in her wonderful book Food of Life, the Persian word for soup is ash; the cook is ashe-paz, "soup preparer"; and the kitchen is ashe-paz khaneh, "the place where soup is prepared." This provides a clue to the central importance that Persian culture accords soup, which is often shared to seal bonds of friendship and more amorous relationships.
A famous Persian ash is wishing soup, an ad-hoc melange with a peculiarly Persian fairy-tale twist. According to the directions, a person first must decide to make a wish on a certain day and then invite friends to bring a soup ingredient to the wishmaker's house in the morning of the specified day. At noon, everyone returns to share the resulting soup, which somehow helps make the wish come true.
- 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup rice
- 1/4 pound dried apricots, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 8 cups chicken stock or water
- 1 cup cooked chick peas
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
To make the lamb balls, mix all ingredients until well combined. Form into walnut-size balls and set aside.
To make the soup, in a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion over low heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in turmeric, cinnamon, and rice. Cook rice until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add apricots, parsley, and stock. Bring to a boil and add lamb balls. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Add chick peas and cook another 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve garnished with mint leaves.
A GOOD DAY FOR SOUP
by Jeannette Ferrary and Louise Fiszer
Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
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This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007