My love of fresh pomegranate made it impossible for me to resist a book named Pomegranate Soup: A Novel by Marsha Mehran.
A sensitively presented book, with recipes, about three women leaving Iran to start a new life in a Ireland. The tale could be located in many countries but Marsha’s story rings the sounds of telling a difficult story in a thoughtful positive light. Of course I loved all the cooking references and what each sister brought to this loving kitchen. An easy quick read, with some difficult heart wrenching chapters. Each chapter begins with a recipe. I find great pleasure and special warmth in recreating her lovely recipes as if you are present in the storytelling and living her sharing of a culture heritage she wants to preserve.
Here I am making the Red Lentil Soup from Chapter two. I used Yellow Lentils and searched out the Nigella Seeds from a local spice store. Nigella Seeds are now a new favorite in my spice rack so I recommend experimenting with them if you can find them. Pepper can be substituted but not the same.
2 Cup dry (red) or yellow lentils
7 large onions, chopped
7 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 teaspoons ground cumin
7 Cups chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted)
3 Cups water
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
I found the author, Marsha Mehran’s directions worked perfectly and there is not anything I would do differently to this delightful soup.
“Place lentils in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered, for 9 min. Drain and place aside.”
In a large stockpot, fry 6 of the chopped onions, garlic, turmeric, and cumin in olive oil until golden.
Transfer lentils, broth, and water to the pot. Add salt, nigella seeds or pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
Fry the remaining onion in olive oil until crisp but not blackened. Add as a garnish…”
Recipe adapted from Chapter 2 recipe Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran, Random House.
Clay pots I used were from La Chamba Colombia for the chicken broth and serving bowel. The soup was prepared using a lidded clay Pomaire Chilean pot.