Pistachio soup with barberries

Sup-e Pesteh

سوپ پسته

Iran is the world’s largest producer of pistachios, so it’s no wonder that pistachios are mandatory at any Persian table for celebrations and offerings to guests.

Pistachios are roasted, salted, and typically flavored with various acidic ingredients that are a signature of the Iranian palate for sourness. They are often colored with saffron, another of Iran’s precious offerings to the world.

We’ve all had baklava made from one or another region of the world. Persian versions use a variety of different nuts, and my absolute favorite baklava is made with pistachios, rose water and cardamom.

This soup is very simple in composition but is flavorful and satisfying, showcasing and celebrating pistachios! Top the soup with pomegranate seeds when in season, or with barberries, and see how the rich and creamy flavors brighten and become even more inviting!

Pistachio soup

Creamy pistachio soup topped with barberries or pomegranate when in season
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: barberry, pistachio, pomegranate, soup
Servings: 4
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pistachios, shelled and as much of the skin removed and ground.
  • 2 tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 1 leak, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper or cayenne, ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 5-6 cups broth, chicken or vegetable, unsalted or low salt
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced

Garnish

  • 4 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons barberries, rinse in cold water
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped

Instructions

  • Remove the shells from the pistachios and gently rub them with your fingers to remove as much of the skin around the nut. Place in a food processor and pulse until you have a fine ground.
  • In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the shallots and leek with oil for about 10 minutes until softened and translucent.
  • Add garlic, ginger and the spices and continue to saute for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the rice flour and mix until the flour has nicely coated the ingredients inside the pot.
  • Add the ground pistachios and the remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for about 45 minutes.
  • The soup should have a velvety and creamy consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust the flavors by adding more salt or citrus flavoring. (See note).
  • Pour the soup into a large serving bowl and garnish with barberries, chives and more pistachios.
  • Serve with flatbread.

Notes

I prefer to puree this soup using a handheld blender to make the consistency smooth and creamy.
When pomegranates are in season I prefer using fresh pomegranates to barberries.

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