This dish is loaded with fresh spinach and herbs, and it is wonderful for Spring and for celebrating Navruz, The Persian New Year. It is a hearty dish that can feed a crowd (cut the recipe in half for 4-6 people).
It takes time, but most of it is unattended. Preparing the greens and herbs is the only thing that really takes some active work.
This recipe comes to us from Monet Nazilla Ghorbani. Hear all about it on the Earth Eats episode, Cooking For The Persian New Year.
2 large onions (anything but red onion)
2 lbs of spinach (cleaned and chopped)
2 bunches of parsley(cleaned and chopped)
2 bunches of dill(cleaned and chopped)
1 bunch of chives(cleaned and chopped)
1 bunch of mint(cleaned and chopped)
1 cup of lentils (green or brown)
1/2 cup chickpeas (soak overnight)
1/2 cup white beans(soak overnight)
1 1/2 cups Persian Kashk (whey)
1 pack of Reshteh Noodles
4-5 cloves of garlic (minced)
Salt and Pepper
2 teaspoons dried Fenugreek (optional)
6 cups (at least) of broth (your choice), water, or a combination of the two
neutral oil such as sunflower or canola
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large cooking pot (5 to 6 quart). Set some of the onions aside for garnish, and sauté the rest of the onions over medium heat until golden brown, which may take about 15 minutes. Add garlic after 10 minutes of sautéing the onions.
Stir in turmeric, fenugreek and a teaspoon of dried mint. Add the beans, lentils, water or stock, black pepper and salt to the cooking pot and bring it to a boil. Next add all the herbs and greens (you may have to do this in stages to fit it all in the pot). Stir and let it simmer, covered for about 60 minutes or more, until the beans are very soft. Add more water or stock as needed.
In a small bowl combine few tablespoons of broth from the soup and 1 cup of the kashk. Stir well, making sure there are no lumps. Stir this back into the simmering soup. Add the reshteh noodles and cook, covered, for about 10 to 15 minutes until the noodles are cooked (they are slightly more chewy than typical pasta, but you can tell if they are fully cooked or not). Adjust the consistency, salt, and other seasonings, to taste.
Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes. Fry the onions in oil until brown and slightly crisp.
Warm some dried mint in a pan with oil to make a paste. Blend a half cup of kasha with some broth for a smooth garnish.
Ladle the Persian noodle soup into bowls. For each bowl, garnish with more blended kashk, crispy onion and the mint oil.