(Persian barley bean soup)
6 to 8 servings
- Butter, ghee or oil -- 2-5 tablespoons
- Lamb shank (optional) -- 1
- Onions, chopped -- 2
- Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 2
- Turmeric -- 1 teaspoon
- Water or stock -- 3 quarts
- Kidney beans, drained -- 1 (15-ounce) can
- Chickpeas, drained -- 1 (15-ounce) can
- Lentils -- 1/2 cup
- Pearl barley -- 1 cup
- Spinach, chopped -- 1 pound
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Sour cream or whole-milk yogurt -- 1 cup
- Heat the butter, ghee or oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the lamb shank and brown it on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- Add the onions, carrots and turmeric and saute until the onions turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add back the lamb shank and the water or stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the beans, chickpeas and lentils and simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Add the barley and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the lamb shank and take the meat from the bones. Chop up and add back to the soup.
- Add the spinach, salt and pepper and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream or yogurt and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot and freeze leftovers.
- Eliminate the lamb shank and you cut the preparation time almost in half. Or use chicken breast and add it with the beans.
- Stir 2 tablespoons of tomato paste into the sauteing onions before adding the water or stock for extra flavor.
- Use half barley and half rice for some variety.
- Add a Persian dried lime or two to the simmering soup if you have one. Or squeeze in a lime or two at the end.
- Add a handful of chopped scallions and a handful of chopped parsley when you add the spinach.