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Chickpea and noodle soup with Persian herbs

Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Chickpea and noodle soup with Persian herbs
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
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 pan. Stir well to blend in the onion mixture and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 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.

4

Meanwhile, 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.

8

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 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.

Kashk, a flavorful Persian yogurt-like dairy product, is widely available at Middle Eastern markets and can be substituted with labneh (strained yogurt).

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