A Made-Up Ash: Persian Spinach and Rice Soup

Ash is a Persian dish thicker than a soup, made with grains, legumes and a bounty of fresh herbs. While there are the traditional recipes, it could be created from basically any combination, as long as it achieves that thicker-than-water consistency, and each spoon holds a plentiful of ingredients.

This āsh recipe was created out of my back pocket for my no-fad, truly gluten-free friend during her and her husband’s recent visit from Vermont, awaiting them after a 7 hour plane ride. Let’s not even count their 3 made 4 hour journey from Vermont to the Boston Logan airport due to tremendous amounts of snow, or once in Seattle, the extra half hour I circled them around the either abandoned or under-construction parts of South Lake Union and who knows where. Missing an exit around lunch time comes with a cost. I was famished- I cannot imagine their pain of hunger. Talk about their first impressions of the city.

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You will need:

1 cup short grained brown rice, soaked overnight

1 cup lentils, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed

5 heaping cups of rough chopped spinach

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 large yellow onion, sliced into about 1 inch pieces

6-7 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tbsp medium bodied olive oil

1 cup greek yogurt, plus additional for serving

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4+ teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt

pepper

 

Directions:

In your largest pot, gently fry the onions in the oil with some salt. Once translucent and almost golden, add 1 teaspoon of turmeric. The base of all Persian cooking is those turmeric and onions. They’re everywhere.

Stir, about one minute. Add drained lentils and 1/2 broth. Bring to a boil. Add salt and cayenne.

Add rice, spinach, green onions, mint, remaining broth, and salt. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust salt, pepper, and any additional cayenne.

Stir in 1 cup greek yogurt.

Serve, garnishing each bowl with a dollop of greek yogurt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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