Asheh Anar ~ Pomegranate Soup
It has been way too long since I have posted a recipes. I actually made this soup in February during the cooler months here in Southern California. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to edit the pictures and post them because life and such took over. But I can tell you one thing, it was so delicious that I can still remember the taste in my mouth. Yum!
I love pomegranates. I love them fresh or juiced. Pomegranates are used often in Persian cooking and this is one of my favorite soups. I have made it a couple of times for friends and they have loved it as well. I have also made a vegetarian/gluten free version in the Crockpot. Either way this is a very delicious soup which will leave you all peachy and fuzzy inside.
I have to share a little secret with you when it comes to this hearty soup. It tastes a million times better the next day, once it has had the chance to develop its flavor. I always let it sit overnight. I usually make it the night before I need to serve it and it never fails. You will be amazed at the difference in taste between when you first make it and the next day.
So lets get started!
2 large onions, diced
6 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 cup of split peas
1/2 cup of rice
1lb ground beef – best choice 15% lean
1/2 tsp turmeric
12 cups of water
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of mint
2 bunches of scallions
1 cup of pomegranate paste
2 tbsp of ground angelica
1 tbsp of sugar
The first thing that you will need to do for this dish is make the meatballs. I have chosen the leanest type of ground beef that I could get my hands on when I went shopping. I love the added flavor that meat brings to this dish, but I HATE the added fat. What I hate about it is when you actually taste it as you eat it and the floating oil. Now you can choose any type of meat you want that rocks your boat. One step that it is very imperative in the making of the meatballs is seasoning. Please don’t skimp out on this because you will live to regret it every time you bite into each meatball. Instead of it exploding in your mouth with layers of flavor, it is just going to taste like it is missing something. And that something without a shadow of doubt is SALT! I know, I would know this because I have made the mistake of making them forgetting to salt them and cursed myself each time I chewed on each and every meatball. Now that I have let it all off my chest, we can move forward! Shape the ground beef into 1 inch balls.
Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
Add the split peas, rice and turmeric. Give it a stir.
Place your *seasoned* meatballs on top of the onion, garlic, split peas, and rice. Brown them to seal in the flavor by sprinkling a bit more salt on them.
Add the 12 cups of water. Cover and cook on medium for half hour.
In the mean time clean and wash the herbs.
Chop the scallions as seen above.
Give the herbs a rough chop as well.
Add the herbs and scallions to the pot. By now you have cooked the flavor base for your soup. Cook for another half hour.
Spray your measuring cup with some type of oil. I always have olive oil spray on hand. I learned this trick during the many hours spent watching the Food Network! Anyway, spraying the measuring cup will facilitate the process of removing whatever type of paste you have placed in it. Pour one cup of pomegranate paste in the measuring cup.
Pour the pomegranate paste into the pot. Watch it go bloop! Into the pot.
Then add the ground angelica and sugar. In the mean time adjust the seasoning and cook for another 45 minutes. Please make sure that you stir the soup every so often making sure that the bottom does not stick. While you do this make sure you stick your head in there and take a deep deep deep breath and let the smell of the flavors flirt with your nose! It will make you happy instantly, I promise! As I said earlier, it is best to let this soup rest. When you are ready to serve it all you need to do is warm it up!