Mesopotamian Barley, Chickpea, Lentil, Tahini Soup

Here is yet another recipe from Silk Road Cooking. I simply cannot resist the array of offerings contained in this book. A perfectly balanced meal in a bowl, as we have legumes and also a grain; in this case, pearl barley, lentils, chickpeas and veggies. For dessert, I served some rather savory jam filled buns. Certainly a good way to warm up on a cold day and it yields a good amount, so you can share with your friends. I received rave reviews and my sweetie will have lunch to take to work so he can avoid crappy coffee shop offerings.
The nutty flavor goes oh so well with the earthiness of the grain and legumes.

This is my submission to this month's My Legume Love Affair, a popular event started by lovely Susan and hosted this month by Dee of Ammalu's Kitchen.

Mesopotamian Barley, Chickpea, Lentil, Tahini Soup

2 tablespoons of butter, ghee, or oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped (both green and white parts)
a generous handful of fresh green chilies, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight in enough water to cover and drained
12 cups of vegetable stock or water
1 cup of pearl barley, rinsed
1/2 cup of lentils (I used puy lentils), well rinsed and free of debris
3 teaspoons of sea salt
freshly ground cracked black pepper
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of turmeric
dash of asafetida
dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 cups of kale, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup of tahini
juice from one fresh lemon or two limes

In a large soup pot, heat the butter, oil or ghee over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, leeks, chilies and garlic. Stir and fry for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the chickpeas to the pot, along with the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

Now add the barley, lentils, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Again, reduce the heat to medium low and cover and simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, fresh herbs, kale, turmeric, cayenne, asafetida, cumin and coriander. Simmer over low heat for another 30 - 40 minutes. Add more stock if necessary.

Stir in the tahini and lemon or lime juice and partially blend the soup with a hand blender or in batches in a blender or food processor. Add more salt and pepper and garnish with parsley, dill and strips of hot chilies.

Serves 6 - 8
More Middle Eastern recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Marinated Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus with Olives
Middle Eastern Chickpea and Olive Salad

On the top of the reading stack: The National Post

Audio Accompaniment: Palace Brothers


Roxan said...

Hi Lisa! I've had Silk Road Cooking for a few weeks now but haven't made anything with it yet. I've flipped through it several times though... and a few more times in search of an answer to a question I have. I've even looked at the amazon reviews to see if anyone mentions it. Do you know why some of the ingredients in the recipes have asterisks? I can't seem to stop scratching my head over it!

So glad to find someone else that also has this beautiful cookbook. :)

Priya said...

Soup looks absolutely comforting and filling...

Lisa said...

Hi Roxan:

I love the book and have cooked quite a few recipes from it though I have not owned it for long. Just beautiful.

As for the asterisks, I am puzzled too! I just studied the book after your comment, and I still can't figure it out either!

Anonymous said...

A prefect comforting meal. It must taste really delicious. I prepare regularly lunch boxes and there are not many soups that are thick enough for it, so I will surely try this one. Thanks!

Susan said...

The explanation for the asterisks is found in the intro on page 56. : )

Theis looks amazing, Lisa. So glad you could make the time to join MLLA. I'm working my recipe today.

Lisa said...

Thanks Susan. I missed that bit but I figured the asterisks indicated that the reader should refer to the glossary but was not sure.

Curry Leaf said...

I have heard a traditional Iranian barley soup ,but this one looks creamy and awesome.Very comforting soup .love the flavours you have used.