This countrified soup is often served in late March for Norooz, the Persian new year. With beans, vegetables, noodles, and yogurt, it is a meal in itself. If you can’t find fava beans, use limas. Start this recipe the night before to soak the chickpeas, kidneys beans, and fava beans. Boil them in a pot with four cups of water for one minute, then turn off the heat and add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Cover the pot and let them soak overnight.
Serves 6 to 8
1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover
1/4 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight in water to cover
1/2 cup dried fava beans, soaked overnight in water to cover, or 11/2 cups frozen lima beans
3 yellow onions
7 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 cup dried lentils
14 cups vegetable or chicken stock salt
1 large handful fresh mint leaves, torn into pieces
6 ounces thin egg noodles or linguine, broken into thirds
1 bunch leafy greens, stemmed, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill leaves, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 cups plain yogurt
Dice 1 of the onions. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, kidney beans, and fava beans, and add them to the onion along with 4 of the minced cloves of garlic, the turmeric, and lentils. Sauté for 1 minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Boil the beans, covered, for 1 hour. Tilt the lid so the pot is partially covered and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 11/2 hours. Season with salt.
Slice the remaining 2 onions into thin half moons. Heat a sauté pan over high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and fry, stirring frequently, until the onions are brown and caramelized. Add the remaining garlic and the mint and sauté for 1 minute. Season with salt and set aside.
Add the noodles to the soup and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. When the noodles are almost done, add the leafy greens and the fresh herbs and cook for 2 minutes.
Serve with a large dollop of yogurt and a few tablespoons of the sautéed onion mixture.
From Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, by Louisa Shafia (Ten Speed Press, 2009)