Chickpea and noodle soup with Persian herbs
3 1/2 hours
Kashk, a flavorful Persian yogurt-like dairy product, is widely available at Middle Eastern markets and can be substituted with labneh (strained yogurt).
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound onions (1 very large or 2 medium), chopped (about 3½ cups)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), sorted and rinsed (about 4 ounces)
2 cups vegetable broth
8 cups water, divided
1/3 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces linguine, whole wheat or white, broken in 3-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
1/3 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 (6-ounce) bunch spinach, large stems removed, leaves immersed in water and rinsed several times (about 5 cups leaves), chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint
Kashk, for serving
1. Heat the oil
in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, or until it is soft and deep golden brown, about 25 minutes; as the onion starts to brown, reduce the heat and stir more often. Add the garlic and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 1 minute. Transfer about one-third of the mixture (about 1/3 cup) to a small bowl; reserve it for garnish.
2. Add the chickpeas,
broth and 2 cups water to the saucepan. Stir well to blend in the onion mixture and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 1½ hours. Add the lentils, turmeric, salt, pepper and 2 cups water. Return to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chickpeas and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. At this point you can refrigerate the soup.
3. Boil 4 cups water
in another medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and the linguine. Cook uncovered over high heat until just tender, checking about 2 minutes before the time on the package instructions. Drain the linguine, reserving the cooking liquid. You should have a scant 2 cups cooked pasta.
mix 2 teaspoons each of the dill, cilantro and green onion; reserve as garnish.
5. Mix the remaining dill,
cilantro and green onion and divide in two parts. Divide the spinach in two parts.
6. Reheat the soup
to a simmer. Add one part of the spinach and one part of the herb mixture. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add one-half cup of the pasta cooking liquid and cook until the spinach is very tender and the soup takes on a spinach flavor, about 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid and return to a boil.
7. Just before serving,
bring the soup to a simmer. Stir in the remaining spinach and add the cooked pasta. Cook uncovered until the spinach just wilts, about 1 minute, adding more pasta liquid by tablespoons if the soup is too thick. Stir in the second part of the herb mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning.
. Reheat the onion and garlic
mixture reserved for garnish in a very small skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Add the dried mint, stir and remove from the heat.
9. Ladle the soup
into a tureen or into bowls. Garnish each serving with a spoonful of kashk and with the onion-garlic mixture and the reserved herbs and green onion. Serve hot.