Persian Split Pea & Rice Soup w/Lamb MeatballsPersia” was a foodie buzzword in 2016, thanks to the Taste of Persia cookbook by Naomi Duguid. With that book title, we could all dismiss the name “Iran” and instead enjoy a dreamscape of the ancient kingdom of Persia. Politically incorrect? You decide.

The November 2016 issue of Food & Wine showed me the recipe for “Persian Split Pea and Rice Soup with Lamb Meatballs.” The long cook time is a bit alarming (3 hr 30 min plus overnight soaking), but know that much of this is background cooking. The pot of rice and peas sits on the stove top by itself, taking care of itself.

A lot of green stuff is in this soup: scallions, parsley, cilantro, mint. So, we win with those nice green flavors. Remember to add plenty of salt to this pot of soup.

For the tiny meatballs, I mixed the lamb and onion in my food processor, to get a smooth meat paste. These balls were dropped raw into the long-simmering soup. They were moist and tasty meatballs.

The mint oil and the caramelized onions were important garnishes, minty and sweet.

This was a thick and winning soup, worth its time.

PREP TIME: 3 hr 30 min plus overnight soaking
TASTE: moist lamb balls in thick soup, garnished with mint oil, caramelized onions, and pomegranate molasses

Next time, I will open the November 2016 issue of Bön Appetit, to make the “Skillet Phyllo Pie with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Goat Cheese.” Come back next week, to see what happens.