January 1 has come and gone, but March 21 marks a New Year of a different sort: Nowruz, the Persian New Year. And one dish you can find at every celebration is a noodle and bean soup called ash-e-reshteh. Packed with herbs, beans, lentils and noodles, this is the perfect cold-weather dish to keep you warm well into spring.
What takes this soup to the next level are the toppings. The rich and hearty soup gets finished with yogurt, bright mint oil, fried onions and saffron water, which is simply a pinch of crushed saffron steeped in two tablespoons of boiling water. Cover and let sit for five minutes, then you're ready to roll.
Pro tip: If you're reheating leftovers, you might have to add some water or stock to return this soup to its brothy glory, since the beans and noodles will absorb liquid as they cool.
Persian Noodle Soup (Ash-e-Reshteh)
Recipe adapted from 'Taste of Persia,' by Naomi Duguid
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes
6 cups water
½ cup dried navy beans
¼ cup brown lentils
¼ cup dried fava beans
½ cup sunflower oil, divided
¼ cup dried mint
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups (8 ounces) spinach, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
½ cup finely chopped scallions, green parts only
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces dried linguine
Yogurt, for garnish
Saffron water, for garnish
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, navy beans, lentils and fava beans over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a light simmer. Cook, partially covered, until nearly tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of the sunflower oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Stir in the dried mint and remove from the heat. Set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and onions, and cook until softened and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a small bowl and set aside.
4. Once the beans have simmered, add the spinach, parsley and scallions, and return to a light simmer. Cook partially covered, until the greens have dulled in color, 15 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the mint oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente, 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the soup. Adjust the seasoning as needed, then divide between bowls. Garnish with the fried onions, yogurt, mint oil and saffron water, then serve.