Thursday, October 20, 2011

Asheh-Jo or Healthy and Hearty Persian Barley Soup

Serve your bowl of Asheh-Jo next to a plate of fresh chopped parsley for garnish and key limes for extra citrus flavor

Ok so I was recently informed by one of my good friends and loyal readers that I have had Sheer-Moz as my last post for 3 weeks now…and although the banana beverage is delicious, it's time for something equally if not more delicious!  I do have a legitimate excuse though…a wedding in the interim and it was my own!  Although I wanted to share recipes for some shirin polow here (Persian sweet rice with pistachios, orange peels and carrots) and some baamieh and zoolbia there (traditional Persian desserts), which I was so readily and willingly consuming in the weeks leading up to the big day, I just could not as things were a little busy.  But I will make it up to you by sharing an absolutely delicious recipe for Asheh-Jo, a hearty Persian barley soup that has many versions and variations.  But the bottom line is, Persian Ash equals comfort food.  Usually a vegetarian meal, "Ash" is comprised of a scrumptious marriage (no pun intended) of legumes and herbs; the ultimate in palatal satisfaction.  "Jo" means barley in Farsi.  Once again, this is a modified and simplified recipe, which everyone can make and is further facilitated if you have a food processor.  And with cold and flu season fast approaching, if you're feeling under the weather, a hearty bowl of Asheh-Jo will have you up and about in no time.  

With love,

¾ cup pearl barley washed (I wash it 3 times but that may just be my obsessive compulsive nature)-- (you do not need to soak the barley in water, but if you can for about an hour or two before cooking, it will facilitate the cooking process.  Last night I did not soak it and it was perfectly delicious)
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-tablespoon turmeric
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
8 ounces of carrots chopped (most easily done in food processor)
¾ cup parsley chopped (most easily done in food processor)
Juice of about one regular lime (if you are not big into sour, just use half the lime) or the juice of 4 key limes (these guys are so cute and they make for great décor when serving)
8 cups fat-free chicken stock (or you can use vegetable stock if you are vegetarian…and if you do not have enough stock, just use what you have and use water for the rest- for example 4 cups stock and 4 cups water)
½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I use fat-free or low-fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
pinch of saffron (optional)
1 cup chopped mushrooms (optional)

Once the sauteed onions are translucent, add the turmeric and stir, and then the barley and stir

Sautee onion in olive oil and once translucent, add turmeric and stir.  If you are using saffron (optional), place in a separate bowl and add a few teaspoons of boiling water to it and stir until dissolved and add to the onion mixture.  Next, add barley and stir a few times.  Add chicken or vegetable stock and heat until comes to a boil.  Add limejuice, tomato paste, carrots (and mushrooms if you are using them) and stir well so that tomato paste is nicely dissolved.  This is a good time to taste your soup and add salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours.  Add parsley about 5-10 minutes before serving and stir.  Take a separate bowl and add sour cream or Greek yogurt and beat it with a fork so it becomes more fluid and very slowly add to the pot of soup while stirring.  Serve with a plate of key limes and fresh parsley for garnish.

About 5-10 minutes before you are ready to serve the Asheh-Jo, add the parsley and stir

Bon appétit!


Vanya said...

Hi Solmaz,

Made the chicken kebab and the cucumber yogurt dish. Both came out amazingggg! Thanks so much!


Solmaz said...

So happy to hear that!

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