This thick main course pomegranate soup, Ashe Anar, will hit all your exotic taste buds with pomegranate molasses, yellow split peas, mint leaves and lamb meatballs.
I know everyone is going green today for Saint-Patrick’s Day, but my mind is on a much more important event. Today is a milestone in my life, a reason for great celebration! Ten years ago on this very day I hosted my very first dinner outing under the group Cheap Ethnic Eatz. That dinner group planted the seed for this blog a few months later. The first dinner was held at a now gone Iranian and Iraqi restaurant. In honor of that first dinner, I present to you this Ashe Anar recipe, a Iranian and Iraqi Pomegranate Soup with lamb meatballs. March 20th 2017 it also the Persian New Year. Happy Nowruz!
On that first dinner, two other people showed – because I had not realize it was Saint-Patrick’s Day on that Saturday night. I thought this adventure was going to be short lived. Two years later, 85 members showed up for the dinner of the group’s second anniversary. After about 75 dinners, I closed the dinner group in 2010 while it was still in full swing, but the blog lived on.
I am still here, 10 years later, preparing and devouring every morsel of food I can find from around the world.
Tonight We Celebrate!
I have so many memories from those dinners. And I have been creating so many more since then. Out of that group a close band of friends was formed. About 20 to 30 of us are still in touch and get together a few times a year. That is an amazing accomplishment. Tonight 15 of us are going out for dinner to celebrate! Even 1 of those 2 people at that first dinner is coming.
I cannot say where this 10 year anniversary dinner will be tonight, it is a surprise. No one knows where we are going except me. I did a few Mystery Dinners in the group and they were a big hit. So my friends are meeting me at a specific time at a subway station and I will lead them to the restaurant. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Food Travel Blog YouTube Love
And really by pure coincidence, I am starting a new project today as well! I am launching a Facebook group called Food Travel Blog YouTube Love. This community is EXCLUSIVELY for bloggers & vloggers specialized in Food and Travel who wish to find support and a content sharing platform, while meeting like minded creators.
A Persian Pomegranate Soup
Thanks to Laura at The Spiced Life for this recipe. The Ashe Anar recipe, a Iranian and Iraqi Pomegranate Soup, has Persian flavors all over it, well all over your soup spoon. Guys I splurged! I splurged on lamb and on the only pomegranate I could find at 4.50$ a pop! I guess they are not in season.
This hearty Ashe Anar soup is unlike any soup I have ever had. It’s sweet and so tart at the same time – that nerve in your upper jaw will tingle – but works perfectly with the split yellow peas and luscious lamb meatballs. The yogurt brings a welcome respite between bites and the more the coriander on top the better (in my books). I cannot think of a better exotic dish for this momentous 10 year anniversary!
Yields 6 portions
- 2-4 T vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 cups yellow split peas
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 yellow small onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs ground lamb (or beef)
- 1/4 cup each finely chopped Italian parsley, cilantro and mint
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2/3 cup pomegranate molasses
- pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- chopped parsley and cilantro
- In a large saucepan over a medium high heat, begin to heat the oil. Cook the onions in the oil with a bit of salt, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for 2 min more. When the onions are nicely caramelized, stir in the turmeric and cumin and cook till fragrant, about 1 min.
- Add the split peas and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. At this point cover the pan, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour.
- While the peas are cooking, mix together the onions, garlic, meat, herbs and salt with your hands. Form walnut-sized balls of the mixture, about 18.
- Place the meatballs in a large skillet, 9 at a time, on medium high heat and brown the meatballs on one side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- When the peas are cooked, stir in the pomegranate molasses. Gently add the meatballs to the soup and bring back to a simmer. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Season with salt or pepper as desired.
- Ladle in a bowl and top with the yogurt, fresh herbs, and fresh pomegranate seeds.