Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ashe Anar or Pomegranate Soup
From Irish to Persian in just a few days! Today is the first day of Now Ruz, the Persian New Year’s which is older than and has strikingly similar aspects to Easter.  It seemed appropriate to have Persian food for dinner tonight and although this is not a traditional Now Ruz food it is a favorite of mine and nice to come home to on this blustery first day of Spring.  I like to use the crockpot because when I walk into the house after work the spices fill me with anticipation.  I have made some modifications to the recipe, specifically the meatballs.  While they are yummy, they are a lot of work so I simply brown the hamburger and throw the onion, spices and vegetables directly into the soup and go to work.  Additionally, I have used the vegan crumbles in place of the hamburger when we’ve had vegetarian guests and it does not diminish the flavor.  No one knows.
This recipe is from In a Persian Kitchen by Maideh Mazda.  I’ve had it since the late ‘70s and many pages are covered in spills and spots.  I’ve never made anything in it that we didn’t like.

Ashe Anar

Pomegranate Soup

½ lb. ground beef

1 small grated onion (If you don’t know the trick of quartering your onion and running it through your blender with water and draining it, you’re crying too much.)  The water cuts the onion fumes and the cleanup is easier than a food processor.  I’m all for easy. J

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ tsp. salt

8 C. water

2 tsp. salt (I eliminate this in mine)

½ C basmati rice

1 C. chopped spinach (I like about twice that)

1 C. chopped parsley (I used cilantro because I had it)

½ C. green onions

1 ½ C. pomegranate seeds or 1 C. pomegranate juice

`1/3 C. sugar

1T. lime juice (optional and I used lemon)

Spicing of soup

1 T. dried mint

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp.  pepper

Put the meat in a bowl.  Add grated onions and seasoning and mix well.  Make meat balls the size of walnuts.  Put water in a 3 qt pot.  Add salt and rice and let cook for 15 minutes.  Add vegetables and let cook for another 15 minutes.  Cut fresh pomegranate and take out the seeds to make about 1 ½ C.  Add meat balls, pomegranate seeds and sugar into soup and let cooks for another 20 minutes on a low fire or until the meat is done.
 These are the directions from the book.  Mine are: brown the hamburger and throw everything in the crockpot.  For spicing use the spicing for meat balls and the addition of mint.  I use pomegranate juice because it’s easy and I’m all about easy especially at 6 AM.

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