Aash-e Anar – Pomegranate soup with meatballs

آش انار

This is Aash-e Anar, another of the popular and well-loved members of the Aash family, with many enticing and creative seasonal variations.

Aash has always been front and center of Persian cuisine. This is a Farsi term used to describe a thick style of soup that often combines a variety of beans, grains, sometimes noodles, herbs, spices and meat. 

There are nearly 50 varieties of Aash. Aash RestehAash Jow and Aash Sholeh Ghalamkar top the list, followed by less recognized and more regional Aash dishes.

When you first look at the ingredient list for this dish, you will quickly notice how diverse and enticing the range of flavors are. I personally love the combination of sweet ingredients in savory dishes. This Aash brings all the elements of tart and sweet into a savory dish making it a fun and playful soup fit for the winter season when pomegranates are abundant.

Fun!

(Oh, in case you’re wondering about the spectator in the background of the main photo, that’s the family dog, who’s always interested in what’s on the stove or being photographed. He came close to being named Saffron for his color, but he ended up as Brodie.)

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Aash-e Anar

Pomegranate soup with meatballs
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Aash, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: Aash, herbs, meatballs, pomegranate, soup
Servings: 4
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef

Ingredients

Sabzi (herbs)

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, thick stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, thick stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup garlic chives or Persian Tarreh, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, finely chopped

yellow split peas

  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 3 cups water

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef, or lamb or turkey
  • 1/2 cup sabzi mixture (herbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Aash

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, adjust to your taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 2 cups broth or water, adjust as needed
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Garnish

  • 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Golpar (Persian hog weed), ground (optional)

Instructions

Sabzi (herbs)

  • Chop all the herbs by hand or in in the food processor and set aside.

Yellow split peas

  • Place the yellow split peas and water in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil, uncovered.
  • Lower the flame, cover and gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the yellow split peas have softened, but are not fully cooked. Keep an eye on on the yellow split peas as they tend to foam.
  • Strain and set aside.

Meatballs

  • Add all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large mixing bowl with the exception of the oil.
  • Thoroughly mix the meatball ingredients and make meatballs the size of small walnuts.
  • Place the oil in a large frying pan and saute the meatballs over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The meatballs should be lightly browned and have become quite aromatic. Set aside.

Aash

  • In a large pot, saute the onions with olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned.
  • Add garlic and turmeric continue to saute for 2 additional minutes.
  • Add the chopped herbs and saute on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. The herbs should turn from bright green to a darker green color. If the herbs are sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a touch more oil.
  • Add the remining ingredients along with the partially cooked yellow split peas and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs and continue to cook on low heat and covered for another 30 minutes.
  • Check for flavor and consistency. The Aash should be pleasantly tart with some elements of sweetness and the consistency should be that of a thick soup.
  • Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with pomegranate seeds and Golpar.

Notes

This Aash can easily be adapted to become a vegan friendly meal.  Eliminate the meatballs and increase the yellow split peas to 1 cup cooked in 5 cups of water.
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